Alumni in focus 2011 to 2014

Alumni from the University of South Australia are achieving great success in a range of areas and it is rewarding to hear their stories. Share some of these experiences through their profiles below or tell us if you have a success story that you would like to share.

Back to current Alumni in Focus

Nikki Adamo

Country Business Manager for Nestlé UK 

Bachelor of Management

Published 2012

A successful business manager for leading global consumer goods brand
Nestlé, Nikki Adamo, began her career in the fashion industry before gaining a Bachelor of Management at UniSA in 1998.

"The degree kick-started an entirely new career path for me after having returned to university as a mature aged student at 27 years old. My high academic performance at university enabled me to get my first role in FMCG against a number of strong candidates," said Nikki, who began her fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) career with Dairy Vale in South Australia as an Assistant Brand Manager.

Nikki then moved to the Australian Dairy Corporation (now Dairy Australia) in Melbourne, working her way up to Marketing Manager, before joining Nestlé Australia as Marketing Manager of their Dairy business in 2004. She held various senior marketing roles with the company, including stints in France and Switzerland.

"In June 2011 I was promoted to Country Business Manager (Managing Director) of Nestlé-Jenny Craig UK which is a start-up business within the UK," said Nikki, who recalled some great advice that has helped her succeed in her career.

"When moving into a new business or role, quickly identify the business problem you're trying to resolve. Do this by talking with your customers first and then your employees. You'll be amazed at how quickly you'll discover the truth about your business."

'Never underestimate the competition' is a stand-out lesson that Nikki recalled.

"I once worked for a company where we challenged a competitor on a 'passing off' claim. We completely underestimated their reaction and became caught up in a very long, time consuming, drawn out battle that became a key focus in the public media. I learnt that you always must anticipate competitor reactions and build contingency plans accordingly."

To achieve work-life balance Nikki makes time to switch off from her job every day, even for a few minutes.

"I always try to get out of the office for a few minutes every day - even if it is simply for a walk around the block. It allows me to clear my head and get a bit of sun on my face - which is a challenge living in London!" said Nikki, who also tries not to work on weekends.

"I do try to exercise every weekend (walking, yoga, running). I also have a wonderful husband who is a bit of a 'foodie' and cooks dinner for us almost every night. Having dinner together is something we cherish and we never compromise on this."

"I have a 'no meetings on Fridays policy.' It allows my team and I to have a day where we think rather than do!"

Nikki's advice to new graduates embarking upon a business career is to seek a mentor early on in their career to advise them and help guide choices.

"Also, always take the opportunity to learn things that take you out of your comfort zone, that stretch you and force you to think differently. The more you do this and the earlier you do it in your career, the better placed you are for future roles - flexibility, agility, mental toughness in corporate life are keys to success."

In the future Nikki hopes to be able to return to Australia as Managing Director of Nestlé's Australian business, but her eyes are ultimately on the top job.

"After this, I'd love to work my way up to becoming a Market Head or CEO!"

Dr Ezaz AhmedDr Ezaz Ahmed

Lecturer in Human Resources Management
Central Queensland University, Australia

PhD in Human Resources Management

Published 2013

Doctoral graduate and former UniSA lecturer Dr Ezaz Ahmed has been invited to be a member of the inaugural Research Advisory Panel of the Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI), Australia's peak and largest association for HR professionals.

The AHRI conducts and supports research activities with the intention of building the capability of HR professionals in Australia.

Ezaz is a Lecturer in Human Resources Management (HRM) in the School of Business and Law at Central Queensland University (CQU).

'As an active researcher in HRM I have been successful in obtaining competitive research grants. I have been invited as keynote speaker to events overseas and presented keynote addresses on HRM and diversity in Australia. My current research project highlights the impact of workplace practices in regional Australia on employees' attitudes, behaviours and well-being.'

Before Dr Ahmed 's appointment to CQU, he was an academic and researcher specialising in HRM at the University of South Australia and in the University of Ballarat's Adelaide program.

Ezaz was born and brought up in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and moved to Australia from the US in 2006 to begin his PhD at UniSA.

'I started my career as a professional investment banker and my inclination to research in human psychology led me to academia. I like the interplays among human psychology and its influences on human decision making processes,' said Ezaz, who has worked in Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia.

Ezaz has an MBA in International Business from Maastricht School of Management, The Netherlands, and the Independent University, Bangladesh, as well as a Bachelor of Economics (Hons) from Aligarh Muslim University, India. He has also recently completed a graduate certificate in online course management from the University of Oxford in the UK.

'The UniSA PhD program was among the best research training I ever received. I had access to some of the best supervisors and authorities on the topic in the country. UniSA provided me with a pathway through which I could build my research and academic career.'

Dr Amie AlbrechtDr Amie Albrecht

Lecturer, School of Mathematics and Statistics
University of South Australia

PhD Mathematics
Bachelor of Information Technology (Computing and Mathematics)

Published 2012

Dr Amie Albrecht's decision to follow her passion for mathematics led her to pursue an academic career, where she is an enthusiastic advocate for mathematics as a gateway to many endeavours.

Amie completed her PhD in Mathematics at the University of South Australia in 2009 and now works as a lecturer and researcher in Operations Research at the School of Mathematics and Statistics. Operations Research uses mathematical techniques to aid good decision-making for real-world problems that are constrained in some way (for example, limited resources). Amie's research currently focuses on practical applications mainly involving energy-efficient transport and railway operations.

Amie grew up in Loxton, a small rural South Australian town about three hours northeast of Adelaide. She had little comprehension of what university study entailed, but had a strong desire for higher learning and a talent for mathematics that was nurtured by her teachers. She decided to follow her passion and applied to study mathematics and computing.

"My decision was sealed when the University of South Australia granted me one of the inaugural Hypatia Scholarships for Mathematically Talented Women," said Amie.

"Most people who go on to pursue careers with a strong focus in mathematics can point to an inspiring teacher in their formative years. This is often at the forefront of my mind, both when working with students and contributing to the professional development of teachers."

Amie undertook a Bachelor of Information Technology (Computing and Mathematics) at the University of South Australia, keeping her options open by studying dual streams.

"While I was completing my PhD I began to gain experience in teaching undergraduates. I found this incredibly rewarding and so sought to pursue an academic career that would combine both teaching and research."

"I love to watch the proverbial 'light-bulb moment' occur. I was also very proud to help guide my first PhD student and watch her graduate and then go on to get a good job in industry early in 2012."

"I have a keen interest in how mathematics is taught, communicated and perceived by students, teachers, industry and the general public. I have a particular passion for working with students in non-mathematics fields of study. I also undertake a significant outreach role, engaging with school students and teachers to raise their appreciation of the power, versatility and applicability of mathematics."

Amie offers some sound advice for mathematics enthusiasts who want a career related to their passion.

"The versatility of mathematics means that your options are broad. Apart from my colleagues working in academia and education, I know people with mathematics training working in plant biology, finance, energy, defence, computer game design — the possibilities are endless! Many of these people have combined dual passions, for example, environmental studies and mathematics. The intersection of two skill sets can be very attractive to future employers."

Lucy AndersonLucy Anderson

Director, Asia, WINEHERO

Graduate Diploma in Marketing, University of South Australia, 2005
Bachelor of Industrial Design, University of South Australia, 1999

Published 2012

Lucy Anderson has employed her skills and experience in industrial design and wine marketing to start her Hong Kong-based business, WINEHERO Asia, advising wineries on strategic planning and brand development.

Lucy originally studied architecture and then went on to complete two degrees at University of South Australia — an undergraduate degree in Industrial Design followed by a postgraduate diploma in Marketing.

"Interestingly, both taught me the importance of listening to your clients and the ability to step into someone else's shoes. To me, these are both prerequisites for any business, especially in the fields of design and marketing. It is wonderful to be creative and have great ideas but they need to be based on a solid understanding of the issues, the objectives and desired outcomes."

In her early career as an industrial designer Lucy became closely involved in marketing while working on new product design and development projects.

"Highlights of that time include being involved in the design and development of a cookware series for Chief kitchenware, a welder and various models of metal detectors.

In 2005 Lucy joined Wine Australia as a Marketing Officer, advancing to Director, Marketing and Communications. In July 2010 she was promoted to the role of Director Asia and relocated to Hong Kong.

"During my time at Wine Australia I developed the wine sector's websites, established Wine Australia's social media networks (including foreign language sites), developed a global wine education program in 7 languages and launched the A+ Australian Wine School across Asia; established and launched the Wine Australia and A+ Australian Wine brands internationally, and developed and implemented plans in China that saw the value of Australian wine exports almost double over a 2 year period," said Lucy.

WINEHERO is a strategy and brand consultancy founded in January 2011, now with offices in Adelaide and Hong Kong. In July 2012 Lucy established the Hong Kong-based arm WINEHERO Asia. Her primary responsibilities are working with wineries on strategic planning and brand development, aiming to improve their distribution, performance and recognition in the market place.

Lucy was invited to join the South Australian Wine Industry Council in September 2010 and has regularly delivered presentations about Australian wine in Asia.

Starting a new business venture has made her grateful for all the infrastructure and resources that she once enjoyed as an employee, said Lucy.

"However there is one, major and over-riding compensation. For the first time, I can determine the vision and the principles of the business. While it is tempting to rush into the revenue phase, at the moment I am taking the time to ruthlessly question all my start-up decisions, as these are the foundation of the business."

Lucy advises new graduates to maintain both their professional and personal interests.

"Enjoy being paid for what you love to do, and remember that your passion for your subject relies on your ability to retain other interests, too."

Follow WINEHERO on Twitter

LinkedIn icon View Lucy's LinkedIn profile

Dr Andrew AngDr Andrew Ang

Director, Industry Development Group
Institute for Infocomm Research
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore

PhD Business and Management

Published 2013

 Dr. Andrew Ang is Director, Industry Development, at the Singapore Institute for Infocomm Research. The Institute, known as I²R (pronounced as i-squared-r), is a member of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) family, a lead government agency in Singapore.

I²R's research and commercialisation capabilities are in information technology, wireless and optical communication networks, interactive and digital media, signal processing and computing.

'We are the largest ICT research institute in Singapore, with 600 staff, half of whom are PhD holders. Our role is ensuring Singapore stays at the forefront of information and communication R&D technology, and leveraging ICT to help grow the Singapore economy,' said Andrew.

'My role as the Director for Industry Development is to engage overseas multinationals to set up a base in Singapore, and help those who are already in Singapore, as well as local companies, to beef up their R&D capability to compete in the global landscape'.

'I also ensure that the technologies we develop are being commercialized and will assist companies to grow their businesses'.

Andrew has almost 20 years of international industry business management experience in Fortune 500 multinational companies, high performing SMEs and spin-off/start-up companies, in the US and Asia. His work involved providing consulting solutions for organisations to accelerate their R&D activities and monetize intellectual property.

In 2001 he was awarded a Certificate of Recognition by SEMI Asia Pacific for his contribution to the regional semiconductor industry.

Andrew completed his PhD in International Business at the University of South Australia in 2004. 'My PhD, with its focus on corporate strategy, provided me with the tools to help chart Singapore's R&D landscape for ICT and to assist companies leverage ICT to compete in the knowledge-based economy'.

He has been invited to participate in roundtables by The Economist magazine, and his e-business experience was featured in several business magazines, including Intelligent Enterprise Asia. He has spoken widely on topics such as e-business to corporations and universities and institutes in Asia, especially in China.

Andrew also sits on advisory boards for many SMEs and start-ups in bioinformatics, medical, microelectronics, solar and education companies internationally. Recently he became a Technology Committee member for the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCCI) with a membership network of 147 trade associations and 4,000 corporate entities.

Andrew also has a Diploma in Engineering from Ngee Ann Polytechnic, a Bachelor of Business in Marketing from La Trobe University and an MBA from the University of Hull in the UK.

LinkedIn icon View Andrew's LinkedIn profile

Dr Susan BardyDr Susan Bardy

Palliative care advocate

PhD Education

May 2014

 Dr Susan Bardy is living proof that learning can be a lifelong adventure. 

In 2014, at the age of 80, she graduated from UniSA with a PhD in Education. Her thesis, titled Choosing caring over curing: an autoethnography of the palliative care nurse, is a philosophical exploration of her long and distinguished career in nursing. 

Originally from Hungary, Susan arrived in Melbourne in 1951 at the age of 17, and was recruited from the Bonegilla migrant camp into a nurse’s aide course.

 Over the next 30 years Susan worked in differing nursing roles, gaining post-registration certificates in various clinical specialities (at a time when nursing was unavailable to study at tertiary level). She also married and raised two sons. 

Susan was finally able to fulfil her ambition of studying a tertiary degree at the age of 60 enrolling into a Graduate Diploma of Social Science (Health Counselling) course at UniSA while working as a hospice nurse. Sadly, Susan lost her husband to cancer that same year, but she credits study (along with marathon running) as a way of managing her grief. 

She followed up her Graduate Diploma at UniSA with a Master of Social Science (Counselling) in 1998 and a Graduate Certificate in Research Methodologies in 2004. Then she successfully applied for her place in the UniSA PhD program. 

Susan says she was driven to empirically understand and chronicle the core values of palliative care nursing. 

“My reason to go as far as I could in tertiary learning was a desire to share the wide experience I gained during the time I spent in hospice work,” she says. 

“I felt that it would be selfish if I did not document in some form what I learned in a very special nursing role, one that not all nurses wish to fill.” 

“Something urged me to find out why my hospice colleagues and I preferred – and indeed loved – caring for people with life ending health issues.” 

Testament to the value of her experience, Susan feels studying the PhD in her senior years gave her a brand new sense of perspective. 

“I loved doing the research; it brought people into my life, enriching it at a time when retirement is the usual sequence of events for most people,” she says. 

“I met most of these nurses (through field interviews) for the first time, yet they were on the same wavelength with me as far as professional practice went… it was a true ‘light bulb’ moment.” 

“Lifelong learning gave me the opportunity to find out how much more there is to a professional role.” 

Susan is now intending to apply her knowledge to community speaking, and has a schedule of engagements representing the Palliative Care Council of South Australia. She is also working on a series of writing projects. 

“I hope that being an octogenarian will not interfere with my plans – I hope I will live long enough to see the writing projects published,” she says. 

“I will keep disseminating the message that palliative care does not talk about death but quality of life while living.”

Tim BassTim Bass

Director/Principal Physiotherapist, myPhysioSA
Mount Barker

Bachelor of Physiotherapy 

Published 2012

 Tim Bass is a consultant physiotherapist to numerous local, state and national sporting teams, including the North Adelaide Football Club (SANFL) and Hockey SA senior men’s and senior women’s state teams. He is the founding director of myPhysioSA, a physiotherapy private practice with clinics in North Adelaide and  Mount Barker in the Adelaide Hills.

Tim divides his time clinically between the two clinics, as well as working as the Medical Director for Hockey SA and consulting to the South Australian Sports Institute (SASI).

After completing his undergraduate physiotherapy degree at the University of South Australia in 2001, Tim worked briefly in the public system then switched to private practice, working as a physiotherapist in Adelaide and later in Wellington, New Zealand.   He then completed a Masters in Sports Physiotherapy at Latrobe University to qualify as an APA Sports Physiotherapist.

He established myPhysioSA in March 2003 and the practice has continued to grow, with 10 physiotherapists involved.  They have just set up the Hills Integrated Pain Service, a private multidisciplinary pain centre in the Adelaide Hills.

"The undergraduate degree at University of South Australia gave me the foundation in physiotherapy that allowed me to further my clinical skills and to start my own business. It also motivated me to become involved in sports physiotherapy and elite sports."

“My career highlights are being involved with National Junior Hockey teams who have won various trophies in the past 5 years.  I also won a prestigious postgraduate award for health sciences at Latrobe University in my final year of my Masters degree.”

“The next step in my professional life is to balance my clinical sports physiotherapy work with my new interest in pain management. I would also like to continue to travel intermittently with hockey teams,” said Tim, who would also like to teach at both undergraduate and postgraduate level in the future.

“My advice to graduates would be set clear goals and work hard towards achieving these goals. Always challenge yourself and always learn!”

Alan Beattie at the Inaugural Asia-Pacific Enterprise Leadership Awards (APELA) 2013Alan Beattie

CEO, Nyaarla Projects and MADALAH Limited, Perth WA

Graduate Diploma, Information Studies

Published 2013

 Alan Beattie is a community consultation specialist with over ten years experience in community consultation/liaison, community development, Aboriginal heritage and native title and employment and training. Alan
co-founded Nyaarla Projects Pty Ltd, a Perth-based company undertaking
youth education, training, economic development and housing for indigenous communities throughout Australia with a focus on Western Australia.

Alan began his career working in the Western Australian government. An article in a local paper about a successful indigenous community inspired him to pursue his lifelong interest in indigenous social justice. He became Information Manager at the West Australian Department of Indigenous Affairs in 1995, with his last role in government being Regional Manager for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) Broome Office in 2000.

He undertook a Graduate Diploma in Information Studies online at UniSA,completing it in 2001.

Alan co-established Nyaarla Projects Pty Ltd, in 2003 and in 2009 he co-established MADALAH Limited (which stands for 'Making A Difference And Looking Ahead'), a not-for-profit organisation to provide a vehicle through which to provide scholarships and deliver other education, training and employment support programs for young indigenous people.

MADALAH currently administers over 250 tertiary and secondary scholarships throughout Australia through the Commonwealth-funded Indigenous Youth Leadership Program (IYLP). They also manage employment related accommodation and provide support services for other Aboriginal workforce development programs. In total the two organisations support approximately 500 indigenous youth throughout Australia, principally Western Australia.

MADALAH received its first sizeable private donation late last year and Alan's aim is to build the philanthropic side of the organisation and to develop mentoring programs to support their scholarships and training initiatives.

Alan was in Singapore recently for the inaugural Asia-Pacific Enterprise Leadership Awards (APELA) 2013 – International. Nyaarla Projects/MADALAH Limited was one of three Australian companies recognised for their outstanding contribution related to corporate social responsibility.

LinkedIn icon View Alan Beattie's LinkedIn profile

Casey Bell1Casey Bell

Early Childhood Teacher, Kalaya Children's Centre, Queenstown SA

Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood) 

Bachelor of Applied Science (Human Movement)

Published 2012

Casey Bell's decision to enter teaching ahead of her second option, pharmacy,
has been a bonus for the children in her care at Kalaya Children's Centre, an Aboriginal focussed education centre located in the western suburbs of Adelaide.

Casey's professional dedication and passion for teaching was recognised when she was named Inspirational Preschool Teacher of the Year at the 2011 SA Public Teaching Awards recently. Her award recognised the positive contribution she has made to the community where she has focused on building relationships with each of the children's families and caregivers, and developed an individual learning plan for every child.

Casey studied Human Movement and Early Childhood Education at the University of South Australia, a choice which she made thanks to the advice of her mother.

"About 6 years ago I had to decide whether I would start a teaching degree in South Australia or move interstate to start a pharmacy degree. I was really confused and thought about how my decision would impact on my life in terms of my career, friends, sports and families. I spoke to my Mum about it and she told me not to put so much stress into thinking about the unknown but to make a decision and stick to it and if it didn't work out then make changes so that it would work out. I think this is the best thing anyone ever told me and I apply it to everything I do."

"I have always loved spending time with children and find them so entertaining,"said Casey, who taught at Saint Peter's Boys Early Learning Centre and then in Darwin for 6 months prior to working at Kalaya.

Casey has found that working with the individual and changing needs of young children has taught her a valuable life lesson: that patience is a virtue, especially when working with children.

"It's a lesson I learnt on my very first day in teaching. Allowing children to have their own time is the difference between a stressful day and watching the most amazing things happen."

Casey offers some wise advice for new graduates about the art of listening.

"Truly listen to what people in your field have to say, even if it goes against what you believe, because it is only through listening and experience that you will develop your bank of knowledge. Regardless of the challenges or success you achieve, always remember why you chose to enter that profession."

Casey's secret to work-life balance is to participate in organized sports. A keen hockey player, she has recently taken up softball and doing triathlons.

"I am able to work hard in my job and know that I have team mates with whom I can keep fit and socialize. I also think it's really important to not take work related incidents personally, as that seems to be when work and home life collide."

Mastering the art of play is another must-do when working with young children. Next year, Casey is planning a trip to Bhutan, the tiny country famous for its 'Gross National Happiness' measures. She will attend the 32nd Annual Seminar of the International Society for Teacher Education.

"This will be a forum where teacher educators and those with an interest in teacher training and development meet as professionals and discuss their work. We will discuss Gross National Happiness through Early Childhood Education. Following the conference I will stay on and assist in running a workshop to help Bhutanese educators familiarize themselves with the importance of play and the skills to develop a play based curriculum."

Selga BerzinsSelga Berzins

Reporter, Channel 9, South Australia

Bachelor of Arts (Journalism)

Published 2012

 Channel 9 reporter, Selga Berzins won the Best TV News Report category in the recent SA Media Awards, joining an impressive line up of six UniSA journalism graduates who were among the winners.

Selga graduated UniSA Bachelor of Arts (Journalism) in 2006, had her first break during her final semester when she landed a job with Southern Cross News in Port Pirie as a video journalist and news presenter.

This experience was as one of the highlights of her career so far, teaching her the valuable skills of time management and organisation.

"The job was full-on to say the least! Every day I was responsible for finding two stories, conducting and filming the interviews and writing the scripts. I'd then edit both stories on my computer and have it all done by the 4pm deadline. Next, I'd race off and do my make up before presenting the news bulletin!" said Selga.

Two years later she was offered a job with Channel 9 news team, working on the police round for two more years before moving into her current role as court reporter. Content with the challenges this role brings, Selga nevertheless would love an opportunity to cover the London Olympics next year.

It is difficult to achieve work-life balance because journalism is not a Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 industry.

"The trick is, to enjoy the time off when you get it, no matter what day of the week it is. I find getting enough sleep is important, because you never know how long your working day might end up being. Having a holiday to look forward to also helps!" said Selga.

Selga believes that budding reporters need to start from the bottom and work their way up the ladder, to get to know the people in their industry and be prepared to give 110 percent at whatever they do.

What is her number one piece of advice to graduates starting out in journalism?

"Work in the country! It might sound daunting at first, but it's such a wonderful starting ground for reporters. You learn about your capabilities and develop fundamental skills that are necessary in metro-jobs."

"And never be afraid to ask questions - especially if you're thinking of being a journalist!"

Other SA Media award winners

Five other UniSA journalism alumni featured in the 2011 SA Media Awards announced in May: Best Young Journalist, Tom Hicks, Channel 9 South Australia; Best TV Current Affairs or Feature, Brett Clappis, Network Ten Adelaide; Best Community Journalist, Michelle Etheridge, Messenger Community News; Best Rural/Regional Journalist, Clare Rawlinson, until recently with The Border Watch in Mt Gambier; Julie Duncan Memorial Award for Student Journalism, to John Stokes (Silver Award), who graduated this year.

Madhava BhatMadhava Bhat

Chief Physicist, Adelaide Radiotherapy Centre

Master of Science (Applied Physics)

Published 2012

 As Chief Physicist at Adelaide Radiotherapy Centre, Madhava Bhat is responsible for directing all the Physics and Engineering functions of the Centre

Madhava migrated to Perth from India in April 1995 and, despite several years of experience in medical physics and two postgraduate degrees from India, he found it difficult to get a job in his field.

"After many job interviews and rejection letters, I stopped applying for jobs. In 1996 the University of South Australia promised me a research scholarship to study a Master of Science in Applied Physics. With the hope of someone recognising my knowledge and skills in my field of work, I moved to Adelaide. This was a good decision. My research supervisor, Mr John Pattison, and I jointly published three high quality research papers in the international journal, Medical Physics in a very short time."

"In early April 1997, I received a telephone call from the Chief Physicist of Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH), who asked if I would be interested in accepting a position in his department. I accepted his offer to become junior physicist while still writing my thesis." Within a short time Madhava was promoted to senior physicist at RAH.

"At RAH I gained a wide range of experience including staff training, research and development, supervision and teaching, and management of a large radiotherapy facility. I also contributed to several publications as primary or secondary author in highly reputed peer reviewed international journals. In this period I won the Kenneth Clarke Award for the best paper published in volume 28 of the journal Australasian Physical and Engineering Sciences in Medicine".

In 2005 Madhava won the position of Chief Physicist at Adelaide Radiotherapy Centre. Since then he has achieved the accreditation of Adelaide Radiotherapy Centre as a training program, won grants worth more than a million dollars from the Department of Health and Aging to run the medical physics training program, developed web-based teaching modules in Radiotherapy Physics for the University of Adelaide, and achieved operational efficiencies at the centre.

Madhava is Chair of the Radiation Oncology Certification Panel of the Australasian College of Physical Scientists & Engineers in Medicine (ACPSEM) and Chief Examiner for Radiation Oncology Medical Physics in Australia and New Zealand. He also provides expert advice in the area of nuclear science and radiation safety.

Madhava Bhat's advice to new graduates is to make a total commitment to their chosen profession while at the same time maintaining a good balance of work, family and social life

"Respect yourself and others, always take a rational approach to solve a problem, maintain the highest ethical standards and, when you make a mistake, gracefully accept it and learn from the mistake."

LinkedIn icon  View Madhava Bhat's LinkedIn profile

Kane BlackmanKane Blackman

Director, 2ak Advertising

Master of Business Administration 

Published 2013

 Now a director of his own marketing and advertising agency, Kane Blackman's undergraduate qualifications included environmental studies, risk management and French, which led him initially into research and museums, until one of his university contacts alerted him to an opportunity in the resource consulting sector.

Over the next few years he worked with consulting groups Enesar and Coffey, undertaking environmental and social impact assessments for the mining and oil and gas industries throughout Australia and Papua New Guinea.

'The experience in the jungles and coastlines of Papua New Guinea with large international resource companies helped me understand what creating value meant. By using my skill-set to provide rigour to the impact assessment and ultimate approval process, I was able to ensure that resource development occurred sustainably and ensured critical economic development of the nearby regions,' said Kane.

Prompted by the thirst to own a project and effect tangible change, Kane headed west during the mining boom to take up a series of management positions with an international miner, eventually culminating in a General Manager Operations role. During this time he completed an MBA by correspondence with the University of South Australia.

'The exposure to the MBA significantly increased my options for future employment, and I moved east to Sydney, to commence working with an international investment company with interests in the global resource industry,' said Kane.

In 2010 he partnered with Adam Grootveld, a respected marketing professional from Western Australia, to open 2ak Advertising.

'Since that time, we have gone from strength to strength, working with clients to deliver value by building their brands, through offering dynamic marketing and advertising services. It has been onward and up since then!'

Apart from the need to possess determination and drive, the keys to success for Kane are investing in your own personal and professional development.

'For this, education (both class-room and real life) is the greatest tool. Believe in yourself and don't give up,' said Kane.

For many successful professionals achieving work-life balance is a challenge, and Kane is no different.

'These days we are so information and opportunity rich, that we must filter and ensure we devote appropriate time and attention to the things that really matter. Family is the most important thing, as your work colleagues, competitors, suppliers and customers are unlikely to be at your funeral. My fiancée helps keep me balanced and steps in when I take on too much.'

Kane is a walking example of embracing change and not sitting still, advice he gives to new graduates.

'Be a generalist, be open to new possibilities and be ready. When opportunities come knocking, they don't always go to those who deserve them, they go to those that are best dressed and ready to go.'

James Breeze

CEO, Objective Holdings Pty Ltd 

Bachelor of Arts (Honours)

Published 2013

 James Breeze is founder and CEO of Objective Holdings Pty Ltd (Objective Digital and Objective Asia). They are research-driven customer experience consultancies, offering a range of research, usability testing, eye tracking and design products.

Eye tracking follows the motion of a person's eyes as they view an object, commonly via video-based eye trackers. Eye trackers are used in research on the visual system, in psychology and linguistics. Applications include road safety, tracking a person's vision while driving, and eye-controlled digital communication assistance for the disabled. Commercial applications include measuring consumers' responses to product design and to visual images in advertising.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) at UniSA in 1998, James undertook a masters in organisational psychology at Macquarie University in Sydney. He began in human resources management research before moving to IT, spending six years with business technology consultant PTG Global, which took him into the field of usability.

'I was a pioneer in the usability field in Australia, when the web was becoming more prevalent,' says James.' In this company I rose to general manager level and then decided to do it myself. Along the way I also discovered eye tracking. It was a great complement to my psychology background and interest in consciousness that I developed at UniSA.'

James credits his Honours supervisor at UniSA with allowing him to explore an unusual thesis topic that put him on the path to his current success.

'I was fortunate to have the supervision of Russell Hawkins who was interested in consciousness. My interest in this began when I was a student in Thailand. At 17, I was ordained as a novice Thai Buddhist monk for a month. It was at this stage I decided to study psychology and learnt meditation. Russell encouraged me to do research on meditation, an alternative subject that was not typically supported by academics at other universities. I had a very successful thesis and this lead me along the journey of wanting to understand how people think.'

James has now taken his company into Asia, opening Objective Asia in Singapore in February 2013. He is also an Adjunct Lecturer in Service Innovation at the National University of Singapore.

LinkedIn icon View James Breeze's LinkedIn profile

Lyn BretagLyn Bretag

Principal, Renmark Primary School

Graduate Certificate in Education (Professional Practice) 1997

Lyn Bretag broke the cycle of her disadvantaged childhood through education and went on to become an educator and school leader. Her achievements were recognised this year when she was named winner of the School/Preschool Leader of the Year in the Excellence in South Australian Public Teaching Awards 2014. 

“My journey has been very largely due to wonderful educators with far more experience than mine at the time, who encouraged me to take risks in my career that I probably wouldn't have thought about,” says Lyn.

Lyn Bretag Lyn was the eldest of four children raised by a single mother who cleaned houses to make ends meet. They lived in crowded conditions sharing a house with extended family and she faced many hurdles.

At the age of 12 she decided that studying hard at school was going to be the way out of this kind of life.

“I realised that I had to create a pathway for myself. I wasn’t going to be able to rely on anyone else to do it for me,” says Lyn. 

Lyn enjoyed school. She was fortunate to have supportive teachers who really wanted students to do well.
The experience no doubt contributed to her career choice but Lyn believes that she was always meant to become a teacher. 

“Mum used to remind me that I taught my sister to read before she started school. We didn’t have lots of toys and we used to play ‘schools’ a lot, and read, write and do a lot of colouring-in, crosswords and puzzles," says Lyn.

Looking back on her career, Lyn sees that her gravitation towards leadership roles had their foundation in her willingness to take risks despite her fears.

When she moved to Renmark in 1981 she was finding it difficult juggling two jobs across two different schools. She managed to persuade one principal to place her in a full time position, but it was a role that was very much out of her comfort zone. She accepted the challenge and didn’t look back.

During the next two decades she worked as a classroom teacher and took on project leadership roles. She completed her Graduate Certificate in Teaching Practice at UniSA in 1997. Again moving outside her comfort zone, she became acting School Counsellor and later Deputy Principal and acting Principal at Renmark Primary School.

 Lyn eventually won the Principal’s role and in 2012 took on the challenge of managing the amalgamation of the Junior Primary and Primary Schools and a $2.5 million building project.

“I have learned there is a way around nearly every challenge. It takes a lot of time and energy and getting other people to work together,” says Lyn.

Renmark Primary School has 360 students and is a Category 2 school — the second highest on the level of socioeconomic disadvantage, with more than half of the families on low incomes and a relatively high proportion of students with learning needs.

Lyn says her own childhood experiences help her to relate to her students.

“You have to believe that all those children can be great achievers as well – and we do," says Lyn.

She and her leadership team let the community know that they have high expectations for their students and they create opportunities for them. Over the years she has seen the reputation of the school improve. 

“I’m very proud of our students, many of whom have gone onto to do great things,” she says.

The school has just received a grant to work with the Riverland Youth Theatre for the next three years and she has backed their partnerships grant to support development of Aboriginal leadership in the community. 

Lyn’s South Australian Public Teaching Award carries with it $10,000 to fund professional development, which Lyn will use to build the capacity of her staff, adding that she will reserve something for her own professional development.

“I’ll think very carefully about how to make the most out of the opportunity," she says. 

Kim BuckKim Buck


Bachelor of Visual Arts (Drawing)  

Published 2012

 Emerging South Australian artist Kim Buck recently won a $10,000 Australia Council ArtStart Grant to help her establish her arts practice.

Kim, who graduated from UniSA with a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Drawing) in 2010, is not letting the grass grow under her feet. After winning the $5,000 Limestone Coast Art Prize in 2011 she mounted a sell-out exhibition at the Michael Reid Gallery in Sydney and undertook a two week arts residency at her former secondary school, Wilderness.

Visual artists starting out can find it hard to build a public profile and market their work to art galleries. It's also hard to gain the business skills to maintain their arts practice. Kim's advice is get to know the gallery scene, as first hand knowledge she gained during her three years working at Adelaide's Peter Walker Gallery was invaluable.

The ArtStart grant is designed to help artists build a sustainable professional practice and is awarded to those who can demonstrate a well articulated long term plan. Kim is looking to the future and is focussing her grant expenditure on further developing her skills in financial planning and publicity, as well as printmaking and photography, so that she can generate an alternative income stream from her exhibition work.

Kim's advice to budding artists is to be organised and take advantage of the range of opportunities available.

"Be willing to talk to people. You need commitment to maintain discipline for the first couple of years until you get your name established," she says.

"You don't get a break, but it's by working at your practice like this that you'll know that you can make it as an artist."

More information about ArtStart grants and other opportunities for emerging artists are on the
Australia Council website.

Ramesh Chander and Dan RyanRamesh Chander

MBA student at University of Oxford

Master of Information & Communications Technology Management

Dan Ryan

MBA Recruitment Manager (Asia Pacific) at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford

Bachelor of Management (Marketing)

Rubbing shoulders with President Barrack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron is all in a day’s work for two UniSA graduates who have taken their place at the University of Oxford.

After graduating from UniSA with a Masters in ICT Management, Ramesh Chander joined a consulting firm in Adelaide as a telecommunications consultant. Working alongside various corporate and government organisations in South Australia, Ramesh advised them on their telecommunications strategy and IT needs. He moved on to India soon after to work on a start-up company within the hi-tech telecoms field.

“All along, I knew that I wanted to do an MBA, and Oxford’s brand is so renowned that it was an easy choice. I came to Oxford for an interview and immediately loved the city and business school – and luckily they liked me too and offered me a place.

“My favourite thing about being at the Saïd Business School at Oxford is getting to know my fellow students. There is an amazing amount of diversity here – my class consists of 250 students from 45 different nationalities, and from professions as varied as doctors, engineers and opera singers. One day I asked a classmate how his day was, and he replied ‘not bad, seeing as I just met the Prime Minister of England, David Cameron’. This could only happen at Oxford!” 

Ramesh recognised fellow UniSA graduate, Dan Ryan, at an Aussie Youth Meet Up social event. After discovering that he was from Adelaide and had studied at UniSA, Ramesh realised that he had seen Dan in an alumni newsletter feature.

“Never under-estimate the power of the UniSA network,” says alumnus Dan Ryan, who graduated with a Bachelor in Management (Marketing).

Dan moved to Oxford to be with his girlfriend who was embarking on a Master’s degree at Oxford Brookes University. Soon after arriving, Dan was contacted by a head hunter who had seen his CV on an online job site, and he was offered the role of MBA Recruitment Manager (Asia Pacific) for the University of Oxford. 

“Since leaving UniSA, I’ve sought out a career where I could make a difference and play a role in solving world-scale problems. I worked in international development for Austraining International, on government funded projects, and started to get an idea of what young people are capable of and what social change could look like. That fuelled my ambition and I later became the first Adelaidean to serve as the UN Youth Representative for Australia.” 

Dan’s year-long journey with the UN culminated in New York at the UN General Assembly, where he met his girlfriend, fellow UN Youth Representative for Slovakia, and gave a speech in the same forum as world leaders including US President Barrack Obama. 

“Giving that speech in the UN General Assembly was a real high point, and after that I worried nothing would match it. But now, coming here to Oxford, I definitely have a sense that I’m in the room with the great minds of tomorrow – the future Obamas and David Camerons.

“One thing about Oxford is that everyone that comes here is exceptional in one way or other, and that includes all the staff. My favourite thing is that you don’t feel like you’re contained within one school of thought or one way of thinking; you feel like you’re learning how to think. I see a lot of common ground between my experience here and my experience in the UN.”

Ramesh, whose achievements in Adelaide include raising funds for homeless people and spreading awareness of climate change, credits his education at UniSA for preparing him to study alongside the distinguished minds of Oxford. 

“Taking my place at Oxford is definitely one of my greatest achievements, and my education at UniSA and experiences in Adelaide played a big part in preparing me for this. UniSA is a good brand and I’m proud to wear it on my sleeve. 

“After completing my MBA I hope to work for an innovative start-up company in the technology sector. In the long-term, I’d definitely like to come back to SA to work in a role that brings new industries to South Australia to help the state diversify and grow at a faster pace.”

Dan agrees that South Australia will play a role in his future plans. “I’m a massive advocate for South Australia and my family is there, so my long term plans are closely connected with SA. I want to have an impact in a corporate social responsibility space; businesses have a long way to go in achieving the positive impact they should be making on society. I have a few ideas up my sleeve, but leveraging my business degree from UniSA, and other experiences, to get something off the ground would be an awesome way to do that.”

Daniel ChongDaniel Chong

Claims Manager, MOVA Automotive Pte Ltd, Singapore

Bachelor of Business Administration

Published 2012

 Daniel (Boon Hee) Chong obtained his Bachelor of Business Administration
from University of South Australia's Singapore offshore program in 2004 and works for one of Singapore's largest automotive service companies.

"Obtaining a business degree has given me a head start in my career. Not only do I have the hands on experience, but the business and management skills allow me to have the much needed softer skills to attend to customers."

"I started off as a service advisor with a local automotive company then took on the position of operations executive at Honda ICVS Pte Ltd, a car sharing/rental company. It was great organisation with a friendly, close-knit staff. My superiors were patient and understanding and gave me lots of room for trial and error. I could not have asked for more."

When the company ceased operations, Daniel found a position in the insurance industry. He knew that he wanted to return to the automotive industry some day. His big break came when a friend introduced him to Mova Automotive, a Singapore-based automotive service company founded in 1986, which offers vehicle sales and service, leasing, rental and insurance. He began there in May 2011 as Claims Manager, and he has not looked back since.

Daniel cites managing people as one of his career highlights.

"Most often I hear people say managing staff is the most difficult. I beg to differ. In fact, my greatest satisfaction is when I see my staff excel in their own area of work."

"The first and most important lesson I learnt was to be humble and treat people with heart," says Daniel who advocates a positive, empathetic approach to management.

"Before my arrival, staff morale was low," says Daniel who has focussed on motivating his team.

"I proudly wear the same MOVA Automotive uniform as them and willingly get my hands dirty in dealing with daily issues."

Daniel's ambition is to be well recognized in the automotive industry and to be financially independent by age 55. He hopes to be promoted to a very senior rank within the organisation one day.

Angelica CheungAngelica Cheung 

Editor-in-Chief, Vogue China


September 2014

 As founding editor of Vogue China, Angelica Cheung, has been described as one of the most powerful women in fashion in China. She built the magazine from scratch in 2005 and almost a decade later demand continues to grow, with a readership of more than 1.4 million for its monthly magazine and 400,789 for its quarterly Vogue Collections

Vogue China will celebrate its tenth anniversary in 2015 by publishing an extra four issues: a special anniversary edition and three regional editions.

Born in Beijing, Ms Cheung began working in Hong Kong as a business owner and investment banker with Goldman Sachs before entering the media industry in 1994.

She got her start writing for a Hong Kong newspaper and worked her way up to jobs with Reuters, Radio Television Hong Kong, and the South China Morning Post. In 2001 she began a two-year stint as editor of Marie Claire Hong Kong, followed by another two years at Elle China.

Then in 2005 she was hand-picked to lead Vogue's historic entry into the Chinese market.

"When Condé Nast first approached me about launching Vogue China, I had been the Editor-in-Chief of Elle China for about a year and was thinking about leaving the fashion industry and going to re-start my career in law. I had been working in media, first at newspapers and then at various magazines for several years and thought I had seen all that the industry had to offer. But then they asked me if I wanted to launch Vogue China, and I mean, it's Vogue - how could anybody say no?" says Ms Cheung.

Ms Cheung has a double degree in Law and English literature from Peking University and gained her MBA from the University of South Australia in 2001, which she says equipped her with a broad range of skills for magazine publishing.

"People think fashion can be a little up in the air, but running a magazine, no matter what the subject is about, requires a certain skill set that is a lot more logical than people think. I could probably leave Vogue and go on to run a magazine about finance or cars, or whatever. You're faced with endless choices all day long so you learn to make judgments quickly and to trust your instincts, and manage your team well," says Ms Cheung.

Vogue franchises in each country develop their own character which is partly set by the vision of the Editor-in-Chief. Ms Cheung says becoming a mother was a transformative influence on her vision for the magazine.

"Giving birth to my daughter a few years ago completely shifted my perspective on this. Of course fashion and style are important, but it's imperative that we give a broader view. The legendary Vogue editor Diana Vreeland once said that it wasn't a new dress that was important, but the life you're living in that dress - and this is the idea of the Voguewoman that we aspire to. She cares about how she looks, but to her it's most important that her life is a well-rounded one, it's about having a career, a family and a positive outlook on life. That is the woman that Vogue China targets," says Ms Cheung.

It is now almost a decade since Vogue China was established and during that time China has continued its rapid economic ascendancy.

"China's increasing prominence on the world stage is reflected in the burgeoning Chinese design industry. The new generation of designers have grown up with a more global outlook than any of their predecessors. They are exposed to western culture from a young age, often go to study at Parsons or Central St Martin's, and this helps them integrate more easily within the industry internationally. A lot of the designers working today move seamlessly between China and their bases abroad, they can produce half their collection in a Chinese factory and the other half in an Italian factory," says Ms Cheung.

"I think previously people thought we had something to prove, that Chinese design had to exceed the notion of being 'made in China', but the new generation don't feel that as much. They don't feel defined by where they come from, they are very confident that their designs will speak for themselves," she says.

Vogue China supports young Chinese designers through 'Creative Sky' — CCTV's design-based reality show where fashion experts comment on the work of up-and-coming designers – and its global emerging designer talent scout program, 'The Vogue Talents Corner'. Ms Cheung is on the judging panel for the International Woolmark Prize, which also promotes designers who make innovative uses of Australian fine Merino wool.

When Ms Cheung was launching Vogue China nine years ago, CNN reported her as saying "one of the key elements I was determined to introduce was a regular column dedicated to promoting and supporting Chinese design talents. We were the first fashion magazine to do this on a regular basis, but it was not easy."

Her magazine has been a launching pad for talent such as Uma Wang, Masha Ma and Huishan Zhang whose work features on the runways of Milan, Paris and London fashion week.

Ms Cheung predicts that Chinese designers "will become increasingly international and we will see much more talented young designers making their mark abroad."

While visiting Sydney in April 2014 for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia she also predicted increasing opportunities for Australian fashion designers in China. The Sydney Morning Herald reported a deal has been signed with Chinese internet company Tencent to broadcast Australian fashion videos, interviews, stories and images to its 798 million users.

The future looks bright for Chinese fashion designers — and you can be sure that Vogue China's pioneer Editor-in-Chief has played some part in the success of many among them. 

Laura CotroneLaura Cotrone

Extracurricular Program Manager, Marymount International School of Rome

MBA (Human Resource Management)

Published 2012

 A working holiday in Italy turned out to be a great career move for Australian-born Laura Cotrone who undertook an MBA at University of South Australia while living in Rome.

Laura grew up in Melbourne and has a BA in Social Sciences with a major in Legal Studies from La Trobe University and a Postgraduate Diploma in Criminology from The University of Melbourne.

"I started teaching English when I first arrived in Italy in 2005, as it was the only available option to me in order to start working quickly."

Inspired by her former Head of School, Laura decided to undertake an MBA in 2008 which she completed in 2010.

"I strongly believe in professional development and believe that we never stop learning," said Laura who is now Extracurricular Program Manager and an international school in Rome.

"Whilst studying my MBA I had the challenging experience of being a business strategy and development consultant for a new international school of which I then became Managing Director. I assisted the school in reaching its goal in increasing enrolments and being financially stable."

In her current role she is responsible for the development and running of the extracurricular program and its strategic functions such as business planning, marketing, recruitment and selection.

"My MBA has allowed me to strengthen my managerial knowledge and skills that, combined with more recent working experiences relating to education management, has made me more confident in handling a management position. It has also given me the opportunity of putting into practice all the strategic and managerial functions of a complex organisation such as an educational institution."

"I would say that the best piece of advice I have received is to always give yourself up to the challenge and to never look back," said Laura.

Laura credits her strong organisational and time management skills with helping her to achieve work-life balance.

"I consider myself to be a very determined person, which I think also helps. At one point in my life I was juggling work, everyday life, studying, wedding planning and post-operation recovery. This was a very stressful time but I got through it."

This year Laura is looking to return to Australia and continue working in education management.

"I believe Education is important in today's world and I would like to make my contribution to this ever changing environment. I would also like to complete a Diploma in Children's Services in order to be able to work in the early childhood sector."

"I strongly believe in the Australian Early Years Learning Framework of Being, Belonging and Becoming and would like to contribute in carrying out this mission," said Laura, who hopes to one day open her own early childhood centre.

Edoardo Crismani, Writer in Residence (Emerging Writer) at the SA Writers’ CentreEdoardo Crismani


Bachelor of Media Arts

Published 2013

 Edoardo Crismani is a multi-talented artist: writer, actor, painter and film director. He recently completed a residency at the South Australian Writers Centre in Adelaide as Writer in Residence (Emerging Artists). Edoardo, who is also working on the University of South Australia’s Reconciliation Action Plan, played a significant role in the organisation of activities for National Reconciliation Week.

While Edoardo had some experience acting in film and TV and dabbled in creative writing, in July 2009 he began the journey to formalise his qualifications, undertaking a Bachelor of Media Arts degree at the University of South Australia. In 2011 Edoardo was awarded the Gavin Wanganeen Indigenous Scholarship. He graduated in August 2012 with a Major in Film and TV Production and a Minor in Creative Writing and was presented with the 2012 Tappa Tangka Manninendi Medal, awarded to the final year undergraduate UniSA Indigenous student with the highest GPA.

Edoardo’s writing (short stories and poetry) has been published in The University of South Australia’s Piping Shrike Phoenix (2012) and The University of Sydney’s Southerly Journal (December 2012).

Edoardo also wrote and directed a film inspired by a true story of an Aboriginal woman waiting for a job interview and the mental anguish she experiences after being advised not to tell the interviewer she is Aboriginal. The resulting film, Just Be Yourself is being broadcast nationwide on National Indigenous TV.

Edoardo’s grandfather, Joe Murray, of the stolen generation, became boxing champion of South Australia in 1926 and was known in the ring as the ‘Black Panther’. Joe was a multi-talented performer, who played the ukulele and piano, and was a magician, vaudeville entertainer, ballroom and tap dancer, as well as a singer. He also enlisted and served in the Australian army in World War II. During the SA Writers Centre residency Edoardo began the development of a narrative fictional story inspired by his grandfather’s life.

When he visited the UK in November 2012, Edoardo spoke with Dr Jenny Bavidge, lecturer in English Literature at Cambridge University, about his telling of his grandfather’s story. ‘Dr Bavidge was reflective, absorbed ,and commented that this story has the makings of a great novel and that the structure of the story could be likened to Wuthering Heights. Definitely not faint praise, with Wuthering Heights considered to be one of the greatest examples of English literature,’ said Edoardo.

In addition to his writing, Edoardo is developing a documentary about his grandfather and has been financially assisted with this project by the South Australian Film Corporation, the Australian Film, Television and Radio School and has teamed with renowned Sydney-based documentary film producer Tom Zubrycki, who will produce the film.

Ruth DaugalisRuth Daugalis

Customer Education & Sponsorship Specialist

Bachelor of Applied Science (Recreation Planning & Management)

Published 2013

 Working for HomeStart Finance, Ruth Daugalis feels fortunate to be part of an organisation whose strong social responsibility complements her own values. Ruth finds the opportunity to provide affordable finance making home ownership possible, personally fulfilling.

"We assist people with barriers to home ownership," Ruth says.

As the Customer Education & Sponsorship Specialist at HomeStart Finance, Ruth's role helps to give back to South Australia by offering sponsorships that provide assistance to local community groups.

"It's great to know that we're part of something bigger," she says.

Kim's advice to budding artists is to be organised and take advantage of the range of opportunities available.

Ruth didn't take the traditional route to university after school, instead she came back to it later in life when she had more confidence and appreciation of the learning experience. She completed her Bachelor of Applied Science (Recreation and Management) at UniSA in 2004.

After graduating, Ruth worked in various event and project management roles including Sponsorship Coordinator for the Adelaide Fringe, Events Manager at Le Cordon Bleu as well as part of the Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development Program.

However, it is her work at HomeStart that makes her feel most fulfilled professionally and personally, with the company allowing her to take time off to volunteer with Operation Flinders.

As Assistant Team Leader for Operation Flinders, Ruth took young people at risk on a wilderness adventure program through the Flinders Ranges. For an eight day period, 14 to 18 year olds were given orienteering and team work exercises to teach them the values of respect, authority and team work. Operation Flinders offers a chance for the participants to break away from their past and to become valued members of the community.

"It gave them confidence and a sense of pride in what they were doing. It gave them a goal and a purpose."

Ruth hopes to have the opportunity to continue volunteering with Operation Flinders and says with a smile on her face, "This is going to sound incredibly corny but is completely true - I genuinely thought I got as much out of the experience as the kids did."

Summa DurieSumma Durie

International Program Manager
Ubud Writers & Readers Festival, Indonesia

Graduate Diploma in Management (Arts and Cultural Management)

Published 2013

 Adelaide-born independent curator and designer, Summa Durie, has taken her skills to Indonesia to work as International Program Manager for the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival (UWRF).

Summa works closely with Festival Director, Janet DeNeefe, and her Indonesian colleagues developing the curatorial framework for the Festival and programming events.

'This is our tenth festival and we have over 180 writers, thinkers, artists and musicians from across 25 countries joining the Festival from 11-15 October,' Summa says.

Summa had gained experience in festivals prior to undertaking the Graduate Diploma in Management (Arts and Cultural Management) at the University of South Australia. After graduating in 2007 she joined the Adelaide Fringe Festival and developed the award-winning Fringe Benefits program aimed at reinvigorating young peoples' engagement with the arts in South Australia.

'I then went on to work in the Market Development division at the Australia Council for the Arts in Sydney for three years. Last year I accepted a short-term contract with Ubud Writers & Readers Festival handling their international media and publicity and I was then invited to apply for my current role,' Summa says.

She has always been proud of what she achieved with Fringe Benefits, which is the most successful youth arts engagement program in Australia to date, but is very excited about her new postion.

'My highlight has been working with the brilliant team here at UWRF developing this year's Festival program. With over 220 events held in more than 50 venues over four days it has been a massive undertaking, but when the audience and writers arrive, it will no doubt be the most rewarding.'

'The Graduate Diploma in Management (Arts and Cultural Management) gave me a broad understanding of all the elements required to run arts organisations and events - from marketing, to sponsorship and fundraising, and management philosophies. It gave me a strong grounding to undertake ambitious projects both in Australia, and now internationally.'

The Adelaide Festival Centre and Ubud Writers & Readers Festival, in association with the University of South Australia, presented Women, Identity and Universal Themes, a panel of Indonesian writers during the OzAsia Festival on 21 September 2013.

Ubud Writers & Readers Festival 

Kim and Dr Michael FindlayKim Findlay

Co-founder and director, Maranatha Health, Uganda

Bachelor of Arts (International Studies)

Published 2013

 Kim Findlay used her qualifications in community development to help establish a health and development project in rural Uganda, aiming to make a lasting improvement in health outcomes for the locals.

Kim and her husband Michael, a GP, founded Maranatha Health, a not-for-profit organisation based in Kamwenge district in western Uganda, where one in four children are not expected to make it to their 5th birthday. The Maranatha Health clinic and community projects, which are staffed by Ugandan locals, commenced in early 2012.

"It has been an incredible adventure so far, although not without a lot of challenges living in a remote setting, learning about governance and management in another cultural context, setting up the organisation's finances, policies and procedures, and language learning there is always more to learn" says Kim.

"After completing a Bachelor of Arts (International Studies) at the University of South Australia I went on to study a Masters in International and Community Development at Deakin University in Melbourne. I spent a number of years working in the refugee services sector before establishing Maranatha Health with my husband and a group of committed individuals from Uganda and Australia."

"My degree at UniSA allowed me to explore several areas that I am passionate about, particularly in regards to social justice. It gave me the opportunity to volunteer for six months in Uganda, as part of the Hawke Ambassador Program. I was awarded a Cowan International Placement Grant to cover many of the costs for this program, and it gave me a fantastic opportunity to experience life in Uganda."

"Highlights for me are working over the past four years to establish Maranatha Health, and witnessing the positive, life-changing impact it is having on the Kamwenge community. Also, last year my husband and I were awarded the Future Justice International Medal for 2011, which was a great honour."

The Future Justice International Medal is a joint initiative of the Future Leaders and the Institute of Legal Studies in Australia. The medal is awarded to young professionals who demonstrate leadership and initiative that will contribute to upholding and bringing about justice.

Kim hopes that this type of philosophy will inspire students to think about the part they can play in changing and improving the world.

"The world needs a generation of young adults who are not focused on the ruthless pursuit of profit, but are global citizens who recognise the role they can play in recreating a more just world."

Kim's plans for the future include expanding Maranatha Health's community development programs and undertaking further research into successful program interventions.

Read more information about Marantha Health

Christine GoodwinChristine Goodwin

Co-director, Fifth Creek Studio

Master of Architecture (Research)

Graduate Dip in Arts Administration, SA Institute of Technology
Dip in Design Ceramics, Adelaide College of Advanced Education
Advanced Diploma of Teaching in Aboriginal Studies, Torrens College of Advanced Education
Diploma of Teaching, Primary, Torrens College of Advanced Education

Published 2013

 Christine Goodwin and Graeme Hopkins are founders of Fifth Creek Studio, a small Adelaide Hills based design practice that has received national and state awards in architecture, landscape architecture, urban design and heritage.

The pair has recently published their first book, Living Architecture: Green roofs and walls, a guide to the most exciting green roof and living wall projects in Australia and New Zealand, and how such projects contribute to sustainable cities.

The book was inspired by research into living structures that Christine began in Japan, Singapore and Malaysia when she accompanied Graeme on part of his Churchill Fellowship tour in 2006. This led to the couple's focus on living architecture.

"My pathway has meandered rather than taking a single direction," said Christine, whose studies span a diverse range of disciplines, including primary teacher training, Aboriginal studies, ceramic design, arts administration, and a research masters in architecture focusing on landscape art in rural Australia.

Christine's career likewise spans a diversity of roles, from washing dishes and stacking supermarket shelves, to working as a public artist, relief teacher and ceramics teacher, as well as a stint as assistant director of the Experimental Art Foundation.

In the 1980s Christine met and teamed up with architect and landscape architect, Graeme Hopkins, and they lived in Canberra and later in Coffs Harbour, where they established their wholesale nursery, Bonville Tree Farm, to supply their landscape projects.

"We designed and constructed major landscape projects, expanded our architectural practice, and developed expertise in working with rural communities and in the integration of public art into the urban form," said Christine.

"In 1996 we relocated to an 1861 church in the Adelaide Hills, where we established Fifth Creek Studio, a multi-disciplinary practice with an initial focus on rural communities, including Mannum, Loxton, Berri, Barmera, Penneshaw, Mount Gambier, Beachport, Port Lincoln, Two Wells, Mallala and Port Germein, to name a few!"

Christine has also served two stints as manager of Public Art and Design at Arts SA, firstly in 1998-9 and again in 2009.

Achieving work-life balance may seem easy when you live next door to your workplace, but Christine found that work can tend to dominate, and she developed other activities, including track and road running.

"My greatest achievement so far is probably the gold medal for the women's 50-54 age group 5km track race at the World Masters Games in Edmonton, Canada in 2005."

Fifth Creek Studio is currently involved in three of the Premier's Building Innovation Fund projects with Woods Bagot and Aspen Developments to develop and monitor a hybrid living wall system suitable for high rise buildings in Adelaide's climate, and to monitor various green roof systems on top of a 21 storey city building.

"In 12 months' time we hope to use the collected data to develop new living architecture projects. We are also planning our next book," said Christine, adding that they are building an extension to their studio with a green roof to match the slope of the church roof.

Christine has learnt to make the most of her many roles in a diverse career and she advises graduates beginning their working lives to value even the most humble of experiences.

"Be strategic in working towards what you really want to do, but at the same time take every opportunity to work in any capacity and learn something from every experience. Even washing dishes or stacking supermarket shelves can be instructive."

Living Architecture: Green roofs and walls, Graeme Hopkins and Christine Goodwin, Fifth Creek Studio, CSIRO Publishing, 2011.

Tyson GrubbTyson Grubb

Founder of Synotronics Pty Ltd, Adelaide

Bachelor of Engineering, Electronic and Micro Engineering

Published 2013

 Engineering alumnus Tyson Grubb used the knowledge gained from more than a decade working in the biomedical engineering and electronics components fields to establish his own business, Synotronics Pty Ltd, which was awarded the Micro Business Award in the Telstra South Australian Business Awards announced in July.

After completing his engineering degree at the University of South Australia in 2000, Tyson worked as a research assistant and biomedical engineer for 12 months at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in the US. He returned to Australia in 2002 to work in the marketing division of Soanar Electronics Components Solutions in Sydney.

In 2003 Tyson established Synotronics, an online retailer specialising in environmental and scientific instrumentation, batteries, battery chargers and analysers, lab equipment and tools for engineers. He always had the intention to create a business and was on the lookout for opportunities.

'The business took form when I designed a temperature data logger and started manufacturing this to sell locally and overseas. It soon occurred to me that there was an opportunity to resell a wider range of test and measurement equipment in Australia and really change the landscape of how this equipment is sold while improving the level of customer service. By focussing on improving everything we do every day and always exceeding our customers' expectations we have continued to grow and prosper.

Tyson says that the most valuable lesson learned from his time at UniSA was the importance of project planning and goal setting, which applies to a small design project right through to building a business.

'A university education can help to nurture budding entrepreneurs by teaching them to think strategically while showing that there is always more than one way to skin a cat, so you can be open to new ideas and directions. When a project or an idea isn't working then you need to be able to identify this and change direction.'

LinkedIn icon View Tyson's LinkedIn profile

Terri HardingTerri Harding


Graduate Officer, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, Adelaide

Bachelor of Marketing and Communication

Published 2012

 Armed with a Marketing and Communication degree Terri Harding stepped into a graduate program at Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, a unique way of experiencing the different aspects of the bank's business by rotating through roles every six weeks.

"Starting a brand new job every six weeks is rewarding, exciting and very busy! I have a one-on-one mentor within each area, teaching me the function of the department, the processes that the team are responsible for, and how to complete those processes. My performance is reviewed in each department, which keeps me motivated to do my best work. I aim to gain as much knowledge and as many skills as possible in the short periods of time."

After less than three months into the program, Terri is still completing her induction, yet she is already gaining a lot from the expereince.

"Going from a Marketing degree into a position in finance has been challenging. My main achievements so far have been my grasp on new concepts and understanding the banking and financial world. I have also received very positive feedback from my first rotation, which was rewarding as I worked hard to learn concepts and work in an environment that was very new to me. Being in close contact with senior level colleagues has been valuable, in terms of learning from successful industry professionals. Not many programs offer that level of transparency, so I feel lucky to have that exposure."

The University of South Australia's reputation for business courses led Terri to choose the Bachelor of Marketing and Communication.

"Being awarded the Ehrenberg Scholarship for Marketing in my first year of study was very valuable, as it was both an opportunity at University, but also helped me to stand out from other applicants when applying for the Graduate program."

After completing her two year graduate program, Terri is looking to pursue a career in Bendigo and Adelaide Bank's Marketing Department, or in a role that allows her to utilise her creative and communication skills.

The graduate program provides a unique way of learning and one which Terri believes will help her develop professionally in a way that a regular position in an organisation simply could not offer.

"I consider myself very lucky to be working in a role with a primary focus on my learning. The ability to work in almost all areas of the bank is very unique, and I would certainly recommend the program to potential applicants," says Terri.

"My piece of advice to new graduates is to apply for everything, and to seize every opportunity available. I didn't think I would be successful (as a Marketing major) in my application to a bank's graduate program, but here I am! Don't be worried to try something new, particularly in a graduate program, because the entire point is to learn from professionals, and develop your own skills through on-the-job training."

Alisa Hart Alisa and Michael Hart

Director, Hart of the Barossa winery

Master of Business Administration

Published 2012

 A background in corporate marketing and an international exchange undertaken as part of her MBA studies provided a sound basis for Alisa Hart to develop a successful wine exporting business.

After completing an MBA at the University of South Australia in 2007, Alisa began a Master in Wine Marketing at UniSA with the aim of finding employment in a local wine company.

Instead she and her husband Michael bought the oldest certified organic vineyard in the Barossa Valley and established Hart of the Barossa, a premium organic wine brand.

“I have given up my day job to manage the business, but my husband still runs two successful businesses in Adelaide. We juggle city living during the week and country living on the weekend – the best of both worlds.”

Alisa is responsible for the domestic and international brand management and shares with Michael the responsibility for financial and vineyard management.

“UniSA provided the learning platform, while my international colleagues provided diversity and perspective for doing business in offshore markets. During my MBA I attended ESSAM, a two week residential course in Denmark, which broadened my knowledge and helped me consider international opportunities.”

Starting their own organic wine brand from scratch in 2007 has been a career highlight for Alisa, on top of the international awards that Hart of the Barossa has picked up along the way.

“This year we won the coveted Gold Medal for our Shiraz at the International Organic Wine Show in Germany, for the third consecutive year. In 2011 we won Best Shiraz of Show at the Hong Kong International Wine Show against all wines, not just the organic sector. We also won the China Wine Challenge Gold Medal in 2011 and the Japan Wine Challenge Trophy for Best Organic/Biodynamic Wine in Show.

“Seeing my boys getting their hands dirty on the weekend and enjoying all that country living has to offer has also been a great achievement,” says Alisa.

In the future Alisa is keen to pursue more international travel combining business and pleasure. She is also keen to reinvest her skills by mentoring other women in business and supporting her community.

“I want to promote sustainable organic farming and to establish a world-class sustainable cellar door/organic cooking school on our vineyard.”

Her advice to new graduates is to do what they love.

“Know your strengths and weaknesses, be open to new opportunities, and know where you want to go by regularly setting goals and milestones. But remember to be flexible, as there is more than one path to get you there – and celebrate every step of the journey. Life is not a dress rehearsal.”

Steven and Anita HarveyAnita Harvey

Group Marketing & Business Development Manager, Jobfit Health Group

Bachelor of Business (Banking and Finance)

Steven Harvey

Managing Director, Jobfit Health Group

Bachelor of Nursing (Post-registration)

February 2014

Steve and Anita Harvey are the husband-wife team behind Jobfit, one of Australia's largest diversified healthcare providers. Jobfit provides a wide range of workplace and primary care health management services and conducts over 250,000 hours of services each year for businesses across Australia. The company is now aiming for a $100m annual turnover and expansion into New Zealand, after it attracted a $25m investment from Singapore-based Fullerton Healthcare in late 2013.

Steve, the company's Managing Director, graduated from UniSA in 1994 with a Bachelor of Nursing. A decade later he completed an MBA at Charles Sturt University. He began his career as a Registered Nurse at Central Districts Private Hospital but began to dabble in management. Within a few years, he climbed from Director of Nursing to become the hospital CEO. By 1999 Steve decided to focus full-time on management and took the role of State Manager for South Australia and Northern Territory at the Spotless Group. His extended network then led him to his next career move and the position he continues today.

'In 2005, via a professional acquaintance Dr Chris Kelly, I was approached to join the newly developed and growing Jobfit,' Steve says.

'Since this time Jobfit has grown from a small SA company employing 12 people to a national organisation employing over 250 employees, in 28 offices.'

'Jobfit now delivers a broad range of occupational healthcare services to 5,000 clients nationwide.'

That period of rapid expansion was Anita's ticket into the company. She currently serves as Group Marketing & Business Development Manager at Jobfit and completed a Bachelor of Business at UniSA in 1998. Anita held a string of jobs with Adelaide Bank while studying for her Bachelor of Business– and inspired by her minor in marketing, she worked her way towards a job as a Product Manager and also completed a Master of Marketing at Charles Sturt University. She spent 15 years with Adelaide Bank before moving on to other jobs in finance marketing, and ultimately Jobfit in 2010.

'I joined Jobfit as Group Marketing & Business Development Manager, when the business was experiencing huge growth and needed marketing, communication and business development skills,' Anita says.

'Playing an integral role in the transition of Jobfit to a national corporate brand is the career achievement I'm most proud of.'

Steve says he left UniSA with an understanding that a company can look beyond the typical functions of its industry, and provide a more innovative product.

'Healthcare service delivery can be enhanced by many aspects of the non-healthcare sector,' he says.

'I have looked to diversify Jobfit from being a healthcare provider to being a service provider.'

Anita also says she learned a lot about business diversity from her time at UniSA.

'It's important to keep an open mind to new ideas and technology, and understand market trends,' she says.

'The only thing you can be certain of is that things never stay the same.'

LinkedIn View Anita's LinkedIn profile  |  View Steven's LinkedIn profile

Tessa Henwood-Mitchell at an orphanage in BoliviaTessa Henwood-Mitchell

Founder and Director, Tia International

Bachelor of Social Work 
Bachelor of International Relations

Published 2013

 Bachelor of Social Work and Bachelor of International Relations graduate Tessa Henwood-Mitchell achieved a lot in her time at UniSA. With high school experiences as a volunteer in South Africa and Kenya behind her, Tessa commenced her studies at UniSA and in 2008 spent four months at an orphanage in Bolivia. Seeing these children's need for support inspired her to establish Tia International Aid early in 2009 to assist Bolivian children and young people. The organisation now has a over 20 volunteers in Adelaide and five local staff in Bolivia. She was awarded the 2010 Young Citizen of the Year Award by the Adelaide City Council, and she has been involved in youth leadership programs for the Foundation for Young Australians and the YWCA.

'The most valuable lesson I learned from studying at UniSA was that we are all capable of reaching our full potential, and that all it takes to accomplish your goals is self-belief and motivation, something that I have gained from UniSA time and time again,' says Tessa.

Tessa was recently named in the Women's Agenda careers newsletter as a one of Australia's top 16 women graduates to watch on the national scene.

LinkedIn icon View Tessa's LinkedIn profile

Theressa Hines

Global Director for Environment, Health and Safety, Electrolux Home Products Australia

Bachelor of Management (Labour Relations)
Graduate Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety Management
Diploma in Business (Human Resource Management/Industrial Relations)

Published 2011

 A lecturer in the final year of her management course at UniSA advised Theressa Hines to continue studying towards a career in occupational health and safety (OHS), and she hasn't looked back since.

Theressa, who is Global Director for Environment, Health and Safety for the Adelaide-based home appliance giant Electrolux, won the Hudson Private and Corporate Sector Award in the 2011 Telstra South Australian Business Women's Awards.

"I will attend the National Telstra Awards on November 18th in my category. Irrespective of whether I win or not, it is amazing to meet really astute business women and to network," she said.

She began her career working for consumer goods company, Goodman and Fielder, in Far North Queensland with responsibilities including training, occupational health and safety and rehabilitation. In 2000 she worked at the Olympic Dam Mine at Roxby Downs in South Australia, then owned by Western Mining Corporation. She was responsible for industrial relations and in her four years with the company she helped to significantly reduce labour turnover.

Theressa has worked at Electrolux since 2005, first as Asia Pacific Manager Human Resources. In 2010 she took on her current role as Global Director for Environment, Health and Safety, giving her responsibility for the safety of 45,000 employees at 32 manufacturing plants around the world. In that time she has driven a 30 per cent reduction in injuries across the organisation.

Theressa describes a defining moment that set her on her career path.

"Having left high school prior to completing, some years later when all my previous high school classmates were graduating from University, I realised that I had made a significant mistake and needed to revisit my education goals," she said, which led her to study at UniSA as a mature aged student.

Theressa finds achieving work-life balance is a matter of juggling her busy work and travel schedule to fit in with her family responsibilities.

"I am married and have two children. Due to the time zone differences (US, Latin America, Europe) I often work afternoon and nights, which allows me time during the day to be mum, taking my three year old on dates to the play ground etc. It is a balancing act and I long ago gave up trying to be perfect."

"My family have travelled with me to China which was something they loved," said Theressa, who loves escaping on regular family camping trips anywhere out of phone range.

Theressa's other interests include membership of the SA Occupational Health and Safety Board for the Australian Industry Group and she also sits on the State Government's Industrial Advisory Committee. In future she hopes to further develop her consultancy firm.

"I am executive Director of EGSGlobal, an occupational health and safety and human resources consultancy firm focusing on supporting organisations achieve best practice performance and business excellence. We are working on developing our brand in the market place and building our client base further. We have only chosen the highest calibre staff so our product offerings are first rate."

Theressa advises graduates just starting their professional career to grab every opportunity that comes their way.

"First, talk to the business in their language. I talk to the company in terms of injuries and what they cost. They understand much better 5 million dollars then 150 injuries."

"Second, demonstrate where you value add, both to yourself and the company. Eliminate where you do not value add."

"Third, take control of your career, drive and manage it. Do not leave this responsibility to another. Only you have your best interests at the forefront."

"Fourth, network, network, network."

"Finally, take every opportunity during university and prior to securing employment to build work experience in your preferred field. This experience can turn out to be the defining selection between yourself and another candidate, for that dream job! "

Vincent HoVincent Ho

Training and business consultant

International MBA, University of South Australia, Singapore

Published 2011

 Now based in China, Vincent travels extensively throughout China as an independent consultant affiliated to various training/ management consultancy firms in several Chinese cities. He conducts management workshops, seminars, in-house training and pubic seminars across a wide range of industries.

He has worked as Chief Consulting Officer for the Hong Kong public-listed Dong Jian Group in China, and as Senior Sales Manager, for the Singapore-invested TeeYihJia (Fujian) Brewery Co Ltd in China. His experience also includes 11 years at Singapore Telecom, where he was Sales Training Manager.

Vincent studied his International MBA at UniSA in Singapore while travelling extensively in Asia at the same time studying for a postgraduate Diploma of Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing in the United Kingdom.

"My UniSA MBA classes helped broaden and deepen my 'management' views with theory, lectures, group discussions, class activities, and the action learning project. They also strengthened my analytical and presentation skills."

"The best piece of advice I ever received was from my late grandmother, who said 'Believe in yourself. The dragon that crosses the river is a powerful dragon'. Although she did not have education she had a high IQ and was also emotionally intelligent."

Vincent's secret to achieving work-life balance is a question of attitude, but it's easier said than done - and he has done it.

"If we try hard enough, we get nearer to our goals even if we may fall short a little sometimes. I accept fewer projects now so as to spend more quality time with my family,"said Vincent, who opts for projects with a higher return, both economically and emotionally.

Vincent's advice to graduates just starting their professional career is to seize the day, set your goals and take action now.

"Go to your favourite cafe, buy your favourite beverage and cake, sit at your favourite table and take a pen and piece of paper. Do your current 'Personal S.W.O.T. Analysis' and plan your career path using S.M.A.R.T. Goals and Specific Actions."

Clare HockingClare Hocking

Professor of Occupational Therapy
Auckland University of Technology

Master of Health Science (Occupational Therapy)

Published 2012

Clare Hocking is returning to her home town of Adelaide to launch a book she has just published with fellow University of South Australia alumnus, Professor Gail Whiteford, Pro-Vice Chancellor at Macquarie University.

Occupational Science: Society, Inclusion, Participation is a world first - bringing a critical eye to the development and direction of occupational science.

Clare graduated from the University of South Australia with a Master of Health Science (Occupational Therapy) and enrolled in a PhD program at Auckland University of Technology (AUT), graduating in 2004.

'My UniSA Masters was my introduction to occupational science. What I learned, and more importantly, the guidance I received from the lecturer, Ann Wilcock, has framed all my professional activities from that point. Most influential was being appointed editor of the journal she established at UniSA, the Journal of Occupational Science. Being editor has opened doors to meeting people I would not have met as just a lecturer in occupational therapy from New Zealand.'

'Being promoted to Professor was a career highlight, but more significant are the contributions I have made to helping my academic colleagues achieve higher qualifications and co-authoring the World Federation of Occupational Therapists Minimum Standards for the Education of Occupational Therapists, which sets the standard for every occupational therapy curriculum internationally.'

'I'm coming to Adelaide to work on another book, the next edition of Ann Wilcock's Occupational Perspective of Health. Being asked to join Ann in writing this book is like winning the lottery - about as good as it gets in an academic career.'

Clare's advice to new graduates starting their professional careers is one that holds true for academics and professionals alike.

'Join the people who have big ideas, and work hard to keep up. The rewards can be amazing!'

Chris HooperChris Hooper

Advisory Partner at Cirillo Hooper & Company 
Executive Director at Startup Adelaide 
Tutor at the University of South Australia

Bachelor of Commerce

January 2014

 Chris Hooper's energy and swag of great management jobs have reaped enormous rewards – most recently his selection as Adelaide's 2013 Young Citizen of the Year. He received the honour from The Rt. Hon. Lord Mayor of Adelaide, Stephen Yarwood on Australia Day, 26 January 2014.

Chris had just ended his year 2013 by scoring a place in the Australian Institute of Management's AIM30; a list of 30 outstanding managers under 30 years of age leaving their unique mark on the industry. Professionally, Chris' high-profile hats include Advisory Partner at Cirillo Hooper & Company and Executive Director at Startup Adelaide. He also tutors at the University of South Australia.

Keen to avoid becoming 'just another accountant', Chris is passionate about personal development and leading positive change through increased efficiency. He graduated from UniSA in 2010 with a Bachelor in Commerce and is currently studying an MBA. In 2013 he completed his Diploma in Management with the assistance of a scholarship from InBusiness Magazine.

Besides his major successes in 2013, Chris has enjoyed plenty of industry recognition; he won BBQ to Boardroom 2012 and has been honoured by Anthill and in-business magazines. He is also regularly sought after for industry speaking engagements. Chris advises students and graduates to consider starting a business – and also the assistance available to them in doing so.

"The nature of the global economy is changing such that there are opportunities popping up everywhere," he says.

"The University has some great programs and courses that can help you get started."

LinkedIn View Chris Hooper's LinkedIn profile

Janicke JohansenJanicke Johansen

Practising artist and primary teacher

Bachelor of Visual Arts

Published 2012

 Janicke Johansen has been creating art her whole life and her persistence is paying off, with a successful exhibition in the 2012 Adelaide Fringe.

After teaching for many years she decided to her art her full time career, supplementing her income with part-time work as a primary teacher.

She was born and spent her first three years in Norway before the family moved back to her mother's home town of Adelaide.

After finishing school she studied graphic design and interior decoration and design before completing a Bachelor of Visual Arts at UniSA, majoring in Film and Printmaking, in 1995.

Janicke says that her degree gave her a foundation in theoretical knowledge to understand and appreciate art as well as skills to further develop her painting practice.

She moved to Melbourne in 2007 and has since exhibited in several group and solo exhibitions in Victoria, with the Ringwood Art Society and others. Her latest exhibition, Mind Maps, is showing at the Tin Cat Cafe in Kent Town as part of the 2012 Adelaide Fringe.

"Putting on Mind Maps, where I sold 10 paintings on the opening night, is one of the highlights of my career, along with winning first prize in the abstract section at the Birregurra Art Show in 2011," said Janicke.

Janicke's work is interpretive and modern combining textures, patterns and colours to create responses to her environment and memory.

"I am passionate about my art and the environment and my ambition is to continue to limit further environmental impact and to pass on this message to current and future artists," said Janicke, who wants to organise solo shows in Melbourne and Sydney this year.

Her advice to new graduates is to focus on the positive.

"Don't under estimate the power of negative thoughts, even those from well meaning people trying to ground you. Surround yourself with people who see the positive within your ideas and follow your dreams."

Doug Knuckey (Picture by David Cronin, courtesy of The Advertiser)Doug Knuckey OAM

Chief Psychologist, South Australia Police

Master of Business (Research)
Graduate Diploma of Business Administration

Published 2011

 Doug Knuckey OAM was recognised in the 2011 Australia Day Honours list for his work with the Operation Flinders Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation that provides wilderness adventure programs for young offenders and young people at risk.

The program takes young people aged between 14 and 18 years on a 100km walk in the far northern Flinders Ranges of South Australia, teaching them survival skills and helping them to learn to trust and believe in themselves. Doug joined the Foundation as a volunteer and bush survival skill instructor in 1996 and has been part of the team ever since.

Doug, who is the Chief Psychologist with the South Australia Police, is a pioneer in the field of police psychology. He returned to study as a mature age student in the 1990s, undertaking a Graduate Diploma in Business Administration at the then South Australian Institute of Technology (which was to later become UniSA). He then undertook a Master of Business by Research, graduating in 1997. He recalls the challenges of juggling study and full time work.

"The pleasure of interacting with like, and some very unlike minds, was only marred by the fact that all my studies were therefore outside normal business hours, resulting in long, tiring days. Very challenging in itself."

He has been struck by the attention he has received from police colleagues about the award.

"I have had reinforced what effect one's work can have on others. I have always believed that I was making a difference, but this has underlined that and brought it home in the strongest possible manner. It is almost like hearing one's own eulogy. It is very, very humbling.".

Doug is nearing the end of his professional career but when he retires he would like to volunteer full time at Operation Flinders.

His advice to new graduates embarking on their careers is consistent with that of someone who has obviously gained much fulfilment from both professional life and community service.

"Devote energy to achieving a work-life balance but seek a career that ignites passion!"

Book cover -  'A Life's Journey' by Ly Luan LeLy Luan Le


Graduate Diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

Published 2013

 UniSA alumnus Ly Luan Le has recently published A Life's Journey, a collection of poems in English and Vietnamese, which was launched in February 2013 by the Premier of South Australia, the Honourable
Jay Weatherill.

Ly Luan Le left Vietnam by boat in 1981. After facing life-threatening situations on the water, his boat was rescued by a German ship. He then spent more than a year in a Philippine refugee camp before migrating to Australia.

Ly obtained his Graduate Diploma in TESOL from the South Australian College of Advanced Education, a UniSA antecedent institution, in 1988. For the last thirty years he has taught at numerous high schools in Adelaide and is the author of a Vietnamese-English dictionary for beginners.

The poems in A Life's Journey explore Le's real life moments of hardship, joy and gratitude.

Further information about Ly Luan Le.

Kevin LewisKevin Lewis

Principal of Mandarin World Chinese Language School Shanghai

Master of Education (TESOL)
Bachelor of Education (Middle & Secondary)

Published 2012

 Kevin Lewis has made a career of teaching English in China. A Mandarin speaker, Kevin is now applying his skills as a language educator in his role as Principal of the Mandarin World Language School in Shanghai.

Adelaide-born Kevin Lewis completed an arts degree majoring in international studies before heading to China in 2000. For the next few years he worked as an English as a Second Language teacher.

He undertook a postgraduate Bachelor of Education (Middle & Secondary) at the University of South Australia in 2006. He completed his Master of Education in Teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) at UniSA in 2009.

After completing his Masters degree Kevin worked as Program Manager at the Shanghai Yucui Education Consultancy and worked as a part-time teacher at The Sino-British College, Shanghai.

"It is without a doubt that my success in China is strongly linked to what I have learnt during my Masters of Education studies. This degree introduced me not only to the different practical theories behind providing quality education, but it did so in such a way that it included a very international perspective, something which has been invaluable to me in China."

He took up the position of inaugural Principal of the newly established Mandarin World Chinese language school in Shanghai in May 2012. Mandarin World opened its doors in August 2012 and caters for Chinese language learners from all over the world using locally hired teachers. The school teaches a range of on-site and online courses in Chinese language as well as Shanghai dialect and organises cultural experience excursions and opportunities for students to interact with the locals.

"Being the first principal of our relatively new school gives me the unique opportunity to start everything off on the right path. My position also allows me to meet and get to know people from all walks of life and from all over the world."

"Having the chance to run my own school at the age of 34 is also definitely an achievement that I am proud of. In this position I get to try and bring Australian standards of education quality to Shanghai, and blend them with the Chinese approaches to language education."

In the future Kevin hopes to continue to grow the Shanghai-based school of Mandarin World and in the near future open branches around China.

"As our school continues to grow we hope to open branches across China in attractive tourist locations where our students can combine their studies of Chinese with a chance to see the sights of this wonderful country."

Kevin has also published several phrase books and a directory of Chinese learning websites in China available via his LinkedIn page

Lawrence LimLawrence Lim

Principal Engineer, Meiden Singapore Pte Ltd

Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering)

Published 2013

 Lawrence is a Principal Engineer and member of the management team at Meiden Singapore, a large power manufacturing company in South-East Asia with a turnover of more than US$100 million per annum.

He formerly led the design team and now oversees and manages corporate quality and environmental audits.

"My current project is to prepare for the accreditation of the oil laboratory by the Singapore Accreditation Council. I am also involved in quality assurance activities in the company."

During the 1990s Lawrence worked as a Mechanical Engineer for Meiden's transformer manufacturing arm and worked his way up to Senior Engineer, then Executive Engineer and in 2002 became the Assistant Manager for the design team. In 2007 he was appointed as the company's Principal Engineer and took charge of the ISO team and some quality assurance responsibilities.

"My greatest and most satisfying career achievement was to see the transformer I designed being put into operation 20 years ago and to know it is still operating today. During my term as manager of the design team, we made more than 15,000 units of power transformers which have been installed across the country as well as exported to other countries."

"My degree gave me confidence when I entered the corporate world and more generally. It improved my ability to lead engineering projects, communicate effectively as a leader, and make effective engineering and business decisions."

Lawrence is member of Engineers Australia and was upgraded to Fellow in May 2012. Over the past five years he has served in the positions of Auditor, Treasurer and Secretary for the Engineers Australia Singapore Group.

Lawrence has been active in the University of South Australia Singapore Alumni Chapter as a committee member since 2005.

"The next step in my professional life is to mentor and nurture young engineers and to pass on the experience that I have gained. I also want to continue to explore new fields such as water and energy conservation for the benefit of society."

Captain Ling Kwong YungCaptain Ling Kwong Yung

Captain, Emirates Airlines, Dubai

Associate Diploma in Civil Aviation

Published 2012

Malaysian-born civil aviation graduate Ling Kwong Yung has forged a successful career as a pilot in Malaysia and Dubai; and in January 2012 he proudly captained Emirates' first A380 flight into Kuala Lumpur.

From school holiday journeys on his father's small cargo boat along the coast of Sarawak to flying Airbus A380 superjets around the world, Captain Ling Kwong Yung's career has followed his yearning for exploration.

Ling came to Adelaide to undertake the University of South Australia's 2-year diploma course in aviation through SAIT as it was then known, graduating in 1991.

"I have an uncle and two aunties who settled down in Adelaide in the early 80s. Both my older brother and I naturally followed their footstep to Adelaide to study in Year 12 and then I went on to study aviation."

He graduated with a commercial pilot licence and returned to Malaysia, winning his first position with Malaysia Airlines, where he worked for seven years.

When visiting Dubai with his wife in 1997 Ling noticed that Emirates was hiring expat pilots and he applied for the post of First Officer. The housing, schooling and living conditions for expat families in Dubai attracted the family to make their home there in 1998 and they have been there ever since.

"Two career highlights stand out. First, it was the moment when I passed my upgrade training to be promoted to captain on the B777 at the age of 32. The second highlight would be the day I piloted the A380 in January 2012 for the inaugural Emirates A380 launching flight to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, my home country," said Ling who began flying the Airbus A380 in 2010.

For those contemplating an aviation career, Ling advises hard work, perseverance and, most of all, resilience.

"In this career, most pilots ultimately would like to fly for major league airlines. To achieve that, pilots need to build up their flying hours by initially flying a small aircraft for a small charter company, unless they are already an airline cadet pilot. These small companies can be based in remote towns or rural areas, so facilities will be quite spartan."

"As your career progresses, you will always be tested on your flying skill and knowledge before you are promoted to bigger aircraft. And some pilots may even be made redundant at some point in their career, as aviation is highly reliant on the economy."

"So, resilience is essential," said Ling, quoting the words of General Patton,.'I don't judge a person by how high he climbs, but by how high he bounces when he hits the bottom."

Ling says his next challenge is to become a training captain, adding that aviation is a rewarding career with good job prospects.

Greg LinkeGreg Linke

Manufacturing Systems Optimisation
General Motors International Operations

Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical & Manufacturing) with Honours

July 2014

Greg Linke has spent his entire 22 year career in the automotive industry working at General Motors Holden Elizabeth and International Operations. The award winning mechanical engineer has led the development of manufacturing efficiency optimization processes that have been rolled out across General Motors’ plants around the world. He is now facing an uncertain future when Holden ceases local Manufacturing by the end of 2017. 

Born and bred in Nuriootpa north of Adelaide, Greg began work at Holden Elizabeth in 1993 with an apprenticeship in Metal Fabrication, and then combined with a dual trade in fitter and turner. He was presented with the JJ McFarlane Award for the most Outstanding Holden Apprentice. 

In 1998 Greg began five years as Senior Draftsman where he took Holden from 2D manual drafting to 3D CAD, CAM and simulation of Automation & Metal Forming processes.

In January 2003 he was promoted to Manager of Virtual Manufacturing where he worked until March 2013. He and his team of engineers were responsible for implementing CAD and advanced engineering technologies for Holden and GM Global Operations. He has travelled extensively throughput GM centres across Asia Pacific and North America. 

During this period Greg undertook a part-time Mechanical Engineering degree at the University of South Australia. He graduated in 2008 with First Class Honours and won two prestigious graduate engineering awards: the Engineers Australia Keith Johinke Medal, the highest award for a Graduating Engineer (In Mechanical, Civil, Electrical fields), and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Project Medal.

The major topic for me right now is Horizon 2020 – the new EU Framework Programme for Science and Innovation. This is a huge package aimed at reinforcing European integration, by proposing new fields of investigation to the European Commission, tackling societal challenges, and creating important funding opportunities for everything from blue sky research to industrial innovation. 

Greg describes himself as a “serial inventor”, has always had a home-based project on the go. While studying at UniSA he won the Pank/University of South Australia, School of Management Prize for Entrepreneurship - to commercialise a shed storage system that he invented, the “Garage Tidy”. Nationwide commercial distribution of the product has, to date, been ultimately unsuccessful due to the business case simply not being lucrative enough to attract the level of sponsorship needed to get to the required volumes.

His second invention- an insect resistant pet food bowl, was licensed for global distribution through a US manufacturer, and reached production tooling. Unfortunately the distributor fell victim to the GFC before the very expensive patenting process was undertaken. Not defeated by this second blow, Greg studied IP law, took on the US patent examiners and has now been granted US and Australian patents for the invention. He is now pursuing other means to bring the product to market. Greg always recalls the saying passed down from one of his business mentors “The only difference between a successful entrepreneur and an unsuccessful one, is persistence”

It was the subject of Greg’s honours thesis — an alternative methodology for bottleneck identification in complex manufacturing systems – that led to the greatest successes in his career.

During his 10 years as Manager of Virtual Manufacturing at Holden, he developed a range of solutions for manufacturing optimisation, among which was an algorithm to pinpoint efficiency opportunities through identifying real time ‘bottlenecks’ in any type of complex system. 

In March 2011 Greg was awarded the Australasian Automotive Engineering Excellence Medal by the Society of Australasian Automotive Engineers, recognising his work in the Australian automotive industry.

“Holden is highly regarded by General Motors. We have some of GM’s most talented people, and run a very efficient facility to manufacture high quality, world class products.” says Greg. 

“I am based at the Elizabeth plant, but directly support all manufacturing facilities in GM International Operations — which is everything outside the US and Europe. However, I’m still a Holden employee,” he says. 

With the impending closure of Holden’s Australian manufacturing Operations, Greg’s career is up in the air. 

“I would like to think there may be an opportunity to stay with GM. However, at the moment there are no guarantees, so I’m open to all opportunities. I’m also getting back into the entrepreneurial side and going back to school. I’ve gone back to TAFE to do a Diploma in Building Design, as I’ve always loved architecture and dreamed of channelling my creativity into designing and building my own home. 

“There is another great saying I have always lived by – from the late, legendary Peter Brock: ‘Bite off more than you can chew, then chew like hell’ ” 

Despite his own uncertain future Greg is positive about the future of manufacturing in South Australia. 

“I believe emerging technologies are the niche that Australia can flourish in. There is a lot of talent here for developing high value intellectual property and products. We simply can’t compete in low cost manufacturing as we are not on a level playing field, and have relatively small domestic volumes. We need to focus on high value products that still make a business case at lower volumes for niche markets. Then we need to relentlessly pursue creative new ways to improve efficiency. That’s the direction I believe South Australia needs to head in,” says Greg. 

“There are a lot of positive things happening in SA, so I don’t think people should be perturbed that the engineering industry, or manufacturing, is going to disappear. Businesses are working to diversify outside automotive and the Government is committed to making that happen. A great deal of effort is being put in to ensure that South Australia’s future is going to be positive.”

Dr Lisa McDonaldDr Lisa McDonald

Writer, academic and researcher

PhD Social Science (Communication and Information Studies)
Bachelor of Arts (Honours)
Bachelor of Arts (Communication Studies)

Published 2012

 Dr Lisa McDonald is an Adelaide-based interdisciplinary researcher and writer whose work spans the seemingly disparate disciplines of the humanities and the biological sciences.

With a background covering small business, photo arts and digital media production, Lisa began university studies later than many, undertaking an Arts degree before embarking on a PhD in Cultural Studies.

"The most creatively enriching pathways are unpredictable and often uneven. I came to university in my early thirties to study communications and filmmaking, with the intention of building on prior experience in the creative arts and small business to form my own media production company. During graduate studies I was asked to take some cultural studies classes and discovered that I actually enjoyed teaching," said Lisa.

Over the last decade Lisa has worked as an academic and postdoctoral researcher, including at the University of South Australia.

Lisa's doctoral thesis explored a range of contemporary scientific, philosophical and social debates surrounding new reproductive technologies and fertility. When one of her examiners recommended that Lisa publish her thesis she embraced a writing career. Her first book, Figuring Fertility: Poetics in the Cultural Practices of Reproductive Science, was published this year.

"The book continues the often difficult, if productive, dialogue between the humanities and the biological sciences, which is my main focus of research now," said Lisa.

"I find the different and varied ways of approaching a language for human bodies endlessly interesting because of how unattainable agreed languages actually are, so it seems I am inspired by the productive nature of disconnections."

Lisa currently runs a consultancy focusing on language education for overseas students and makes time for her main focus, writing. She is working on another book which she aims to publish in the next couple of years.

The best piece of advice she has received was in relation to her intellectual endeavours.

"Apart from 'drink plenty of water', in an academic context it has to be 'start with the literature'. This is good advice if you're producing scholarly writing, as well as a way to show how important intellectual dialogues are to progressing our societies. Ideas are crucial to the way we live, so being open to the thoughts of others can show us the shape of our own and open them up to review. Fortunately, one can drink water and think at the same time, which is a relief, really."

When asked if she had any advice to pass on to graduates commencing their professional lives, Lisa observed that the idea of 'taking charge of one's own direction' almost seems a cliché, but one that would resonate for graduates in the era of 'flexible employment'.

"Being open to change is really important, and working on innovative and sustaining professional relationships equally so."

Lisa McDonald's book Figuring Fertility: Poetics in the Cultural Practices of Reproductive Science is published by Post Pressed, Mount Gravatt, Qld, and available as paperback and e-book.

Cynthia MchawalaCynthia Mchawala

Teacher and nurse

Bachelor of Nursing

Published 2011

Cynthia Mchawala, a registered teacher approaching retirement age, decided to fulfil a lifelong dream by undertaking a Bachelor of Nursing. Hers is an inspiring story of how experience, new skills and determination can achieve change. Married to a Tanzanian, Cynthia had travelled and worked in the country on a number of occasions.

"I had always wanted to be a nurse and volunteer overseas. So at age 64 I enrolled in the Bachelor of Nursing degree at UniSA while still working there part-time. After completing the graduate nursing programme in South Australia I left in mid-2007 for Tanzania."

Her life took another major turn when she visited Masasi, a remote southern township close to the Mozambique border, and came across a small 50-bed non-profit hospital founded by Dr Mwambe, whom she learned had recently died.

"My interest was sparked, and after making contact with the doctor's family, was invited to become the 'matron' there. While being a 'matron' was in the realm of neither my expertise nor my experience, I finally arranged to go and work there as a volunteer in 2010 - the year I turned 72."

The hospital was suffering from neglect, a serious lack of trained personnel, medications, medical equipment and/or replacements, and funds with which to pay staff.

"I really had no idea what I was getting into. To begin with, despite my protestations, I was introduced as the 'matron' come to set the place on its feet again. I didn't have any idea, and was very conscious of being a white, Swahili-deficient, pretty unsure, and very inexperienced nurse. While I understood that, whatever my role, I needed to go slowly, I simply had no idea where to start, and no one was available to tell me," said Cynthia.

"The nursing staff were under-trained, under-resourced, under-paid, under-encouraged, and had no clear job description," said Cynthia, adding that there were so many vitally important matters demanding attention, including the most basic, a reliable source of running water and infection control.

About three weeks into her stay she decided to purchase a couch with a mosquito net for the night nurse. This simple action helped to gain the confidence of staff and was the impetus for her to embark on major changes at the hospital.

When recovering from a bout of malaria in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam, Cynthia was able to use the funds donated by friends in Australia to purchase much-needed medical items and supplies, including new bedding for the hospital.

"It became an exciting time - clearing, cleaning, renovating and re-organising - with carte blanche to do it all. A major boon was arranging for running water (as available) in both the dressing room and nurses' bay, as well as being able to set up a functioning pharmacy," said Cynthia, who believes that these material changes together with the modelling of nursing care she was able to provide helped to develop a sense of professionalism amongst the nursing staff."

Cynthia is hoping to raise enough funds to return to Tanzania in 2012 to continue her work.

"My hope now is to try and raise enough money to have at least 3 of the nurses seconded for some extra training. With support this Centre could play an important role in teaching and modelling reliable health care for the very real medical deficits in this little township."

Edouard MichelEdouard Michel

Officer for International Affairs, CNRS-INEE

Bachelor of Arts (Indigenous Studies) 

 June 2014

 Founded in 1939, France’s National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) is one of the world’s leading public institutions for fundamental science research. It’s the largest of its kind in Europe, with a budget of €3.4bn (AUD $5bn) and over 32,000 staff – and at the centre of it all is UniSA graduate Edouard Michel.

 Edouard works for the CNRS ‘Institute of Ecology and Environment’ (INEE) division, managing its international connections with a particular focus on northern countries. As something of a scientific diplomat, Edouard leads development of institutional and scientific partnerships between the CNRS and foreign institutions, while keeping abreast of international policies and conferences. 

Edouard has previously worked with UNESCO on world heritage and ethnoecology projects, and on the Mediterranean Action Plan of the United Nations Environment Programme. He also contributed to a French national working group on tropical forest policy to prepare for the 2012 Rio+20 conference.

LinkedIn View Edouard Michel's LinkedIn profile

Michelle Milette in CambodiaMichelle Milette

Communication Officer
National Blood Transfusion Centre, Cambodia

Bachelor in Illustration Design

Published 2013

Michelle Milette's design career has taken her to London, Ethiopia and now Cambodia, where she is working as a Communication Officer for the National Blood Transfusion Centre.

Michelle graduated from the University of South Australia with a Bachelor of Design in 1995 and began her career as a graphic designer for a packaging company.

'After a year or two I decided to travel around the UK. I managed to find contract work with design agencies working on well known brands for Procter & Gamble and SmithKline Beecham.'

While working in London Michelle began to learn website design, so on returning to Australia in 1999, decided to continue a career in website design and development.

In 2009 the desire to combine volunteer work and travel took Michelle to Ethiopia for a month.

'I had always wanted to work in a developing country but I didn't know how my skills could be useful. I signed up for a project caring for orphans and working in a school for underprivileged children.'

'In 2011 I decided to further my education in communication and journalism and went back to Ethiopia for 3 months. I was a volunteer journalist for a local newspaper and also volunteered in the communication department of the Ethiopian Red Cross.'

In 2012 Michelle applied through the Australian Volunteers for International Development program, an AusAID initiative, for a volunteer assignment through the Australian Red Cross. This took her to Cambodia for 18 months as the Communication Officer for the National Blood Centre.

'This was my first time working in the health industry. I had never donated blood but I saw this role as an opportunity to utilise my design and communication skills to help increase voluntary blood donation in Cambodia.'

Cambodia has a low rate of voluntary blood donors which means that patients have to rely on 'replacement donors' to give blood when they are in need. It is important to have regular, voluntary blood donors to provide a full blood bank for all patients when they need it. The National Blood Transfusion Centre of Cambodia hopes to reach 100% voluntary blood donation by 2020 and it will require a long term strategy to achieve this.

'It is very exciting and also very challenging. There are many myths and misunderstandings about blood donation, especially in the provinces, so we have to develop a communication strategy that addresses a number of issues for different target groups. One of our first goals is to build a website as a central point of communication.'

Young people dominate the population of Cambodia since the loss of almost an entire generation to the Khmer Rouge during the 1970s. It is therefore important to educate young people about blood donation and get them involved.

'This assignment has taught me a lot about social and behavioural change and inspired me to further my education in this area, with the hope of continuing to work in developing countries and experience other cultures and challenges.'

Ashleigh MooreAshleigh Moore OAM

(Ashleigh Moore OAM passed away in Adelaide on 3 February 2014)

Chair, Cancer Voices SA

Master of Business Administration

Last updated February 2014

 Ashleigh Moore has twice survived cancer. He was awarded an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in January 2012 for services to the community through Cancer Voices SA, an organisation founded to help give a voice to people affected by cancer.

Ashleigh's professional background spans over 30 years and ranges from analytical chemistry and environmental protection in locations across the country, to experiential team building and organisational development consultancies. His career culminated in a five-year term as a Director at SafeWork SA responsible for South Australia's Occupational Health and Safety and Industrial Relations.

He completed his MBA at UniSA in 1997. He also holds tertiary qualifications in the areas of Science, Safety, Quality, Management and Business, and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management (FAIM). Although Ashleigh's MBA degree provided critical skills in management, strategy and business it proved to have benefit far beyond the workplace.

Ashleigh, a father of a young family, has survived two bouts of advanced cancer, Stage 4 head and neck cancer in 2005 and Stage 3 lung cancer in 2010. After treatment for the first bout of cancer he retired from paid work and became the founding chair of Cancer Voices SA, and began a new chapter of his life as a volunteer survivor leading a grassroots advocacy organisation 'raising a voice for those affected by cancer'.

He holds advisory positions on peak bodies that include the SA Health Minister's Complaints Advisory Council, Cancer Voices Australia, Cancer Australia and the SA Cancer Clinical Network. In these positions Ashleigh takes on his most rewarding challenges as an advocate, sharing his experiences and knowledge as a cancer survivor and patient in pursuit of world's best cancer treatment and care for other Australians affected by this insidious disease.

Ashleigh's experiences have proved to him that nothing in life is certain and that everyone needs to make the most of the cards they are dealt. An MBA degree provides the strong foundation to cope with many of life's challenges and achieve success, whether it is progression in the corporate world or taking 'the road less travelled'.

Eric NgangEric Ngang

Environmentalist & Team Energy Officer
AGGEM Cameroon

Masters of Environmental Management and Sustainability
(Natural Resources Management)

Published 2013

Eric Ngang is an environmentalist and leader of the Action Group on Governance and Environmental Management (AGGEM) in Cameroon.

AGGEM is a non-profit organisation which promotes community action on environmental protection and grassroots leadership in national development.

Eric founded AGGEM in 2008 and performs the leadership role of Team
Energy Officer.

He completed a Master of Environmental Management and Sustainability (Natural Resources Management) at UniSA in 2013 with assistance from an Australia Awards scholarship.

For eight years prior to studying at UniSA, Eric worked with NGOs in Cameroon, facilitating relationships between civil society organizations and governments to promote sustainability.

Eric says he has always been passionate about environmental protection, and became professionally inspired after identifying a flaw in his country's development culture.

'I found out that NGOs were finding it hard to implement environmental management principles in their work,'
he says.

'Although NGOs were making significant contributions to the development of Cameroon, they often solved one problem which created other sets of problems, especially environment problems.'

'They needed support to enable them to integrate environmental thinking in their projects.'

With AGGEM, Eric applies this approach to his own agenda of environmental concerns.

AGGEM's achievements include advocating for improved water access in the north-western city of Bamenda, establishment of a national Youth Environmental Leadership Award, and ongoing work with communities to recycle plastic waste into useful products.

Eric is the first member of his family to have a tertiary education, and describes his UniSA course as 'enriching'.

'I have experienced another culture and had another perspective on life, which my family and village community enjoy hearing about.'

Eric is also a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society through UniSA and won a $2,000 grant to attend its 2013 South Africa Conference in Cape Town.

Having brought the knowledge and experience he obtained through his UniSA degree back to Cameroon, Eric is aiming to grow AGGEM further and become more prominent in his country's environmental policy making.

LinkedIn icon View Eric's LinkedIn profile

George Nxumayo

George Nxumayo

Senior Research Officer in the Department of National Parks and Wildlife, Malawi

Master of Science in Environmental Management and Sustainability (Natural Resource Management)

Published 2012

An AusAID Scholarship to study at the University of South Australia gave George Nxumayo the skills to develop sustainable management practices for national parks in his native Malawi and neighbouring Zambia.

George is a Senior Research Officer in the Department of National Parks and Wildlife in Malawi, responsible for planning, monitoring and executing ecological-related research in National Parks and Wildlife Game Reserves.

"I am also the Project Manager for the Malawi–Zambia Nyika Transfrontier Conservation Area, a Global Environmental Facility–World Bank-funded project that aims to strengthen the sustainable management of protected areas shared between Malawi and Zambia. I am responsible for coordinating and project managing conservation management services, infrastructure development and sustainable financing of the protected areas on the Malawian side."

After completing his Bachelor of Science majoring in Biology, George joined the Department of Parks and Wildlife in Malawi as a Wildlife Research Officer in 2009. He was offered an AusAID–Australian Development Scholarship at the University of South Australia to study a Master of Science in Environmental Management and Sustainability in Natural Resource Management.

The qualification helped George win the position of Project Manager for the GEF–World Bank-funded project.

"My Master of Science degree at UniSA has greatly benefited my career in natural resource management, especially in the areas of stakeholder engagement and project management. The courses were relevant to my field experience, which is why I am able to manage such a demanding project at the national level. The degree also helped me achieve international recognition."

George counts among his career highlights the research proposals he developed, which attracted donor funds to promote conservation in the Malawi–Zambia Nyika Transfrontier Conservation Area.

"My plan is to undertake a research higher degree (a PhD) in the same field of natural resource management, focusing on local stakeholder engagement and participation in conserving natural resources. This is because in Africa, due to climate change and global warming, there is a need to educate, engage and involve the people in using and managing the environment sustainably. It remains my desire to further my studies with UniSA as I have really benefited from its employment related courses."

His advice to graduates starting out is that determination, enthusiasm and being innovative in one's professional career offer windows to success.

"One has to be result-oriented to be successful in life", George declares.

Dr Charles OngDr Charles Ong

Founder and Director, Organizational Intervention at
Caryl Lynch Pte Ltd, Singapore

PhD Business and Management
Graduate Diploma in Management Research

Published 2012

Singapore-based management consultant, Dr Charles Ong, has realised many goals, including establishing his own management consultancy, Caryl Lynch, and making the 5,364-metre climb on an exclusive expedition to the Everest Base Camp in the Himalayas.

Armed with a tertiary qualification, Charles began his working career in the mid 1990s, unsure which professional direction to follow.

"It was during my stint with a management consulting firm that I discovered my passion of working with organisations, teams and individuals to create a new way of working that can move an organisation towards realizing its mission and vision."

Charles realised his dream of establishing his own business and in 2003 he founded Caryl Lynch, a consulting firm that specialises in deploying management systems, training and support.

Between 2005 and 2011 Charles pursued two postgraduate degrees via distance learning: a Masters in Organisational Leadership at Monash University and a PhD in Business and Management at UniSA, at the same time juggling family and work commitments.

"The past thirteen years of consulting and training experience has been enriching for me, as my profession allows me to be exposed to a wide array of industry sectors covering government agencies, trading, manufacturing, construction, engineering, marine-related services, automation, distribution and service industries."

"Having completed my PhD in 2011, which I considered to be a challenge, both mentally and intellectually, I told myself that I should make an attempt to challenge the physical aspect and in the process of it become more of a well-rounded person."

From a very young age Charles was attracted to the grandeur of high mountains, especially the mystical qualities of the Himalaya region, so the decision to attempt the climb to Everest Base Camp was a natural choice.

In July 2012 two of his longstanding consultancy clients stepped forward as trekking buddies to help him train locally for the expedition twice a week.

"We covered 10 to 12 kilometres on a weekday evening trek and between 45 and 50 kilometres on a Saturday trek. In addition to that, I hit the gym twice a week to work on my upper body muscles."

Charles made the ascent to the South Base Camp of Mount Everest in Nepal in eight days, arriving on 23rd October 2012, undeterred by a bout of high altitude sickness the day before.

Charles' other motive for his climb to Everest Base Camp was to identify suitable intervention programs for young children of the Himalaya region. And he hopes to organise future group expeditions, possibly with fellow UniSA alumni, to deliver such programs.

Jenny ParadisoJenny Paradiso

Managing Director, Suntrix Pty Ltd, Adelaide

Graduate Diploma in Computer & Information Science

Bachelor of Arts (Library and Information Management)

Published 2013

Jenny began her career working as a librarian and later in software industries, focusing on human resources, information technology, project management, training and product development.

She founded Suntrix with her husband, David Hille, in 2009, with David providing the technical expertise and Jenny managing the business.  David developed a ground-mounted tracking unit, called Suntrax, which can provide up to 40 per cent more output than other solar systems. They began by providing assistance to family and friends and suddenly found themselves growing rapidly and needing to hire staff.

Jenny says that the experience of juggling work and study when doing her Graduate Diploma in Computer and Information Science at University of South Australia helped her to build the resilience needed for establishing her own business.

Neither Jenny nor David had run a business before and she found that her training and experience in project management and systems proved invaluable when setting up a business from scratch.

Jenny says that if she had her time over again she would have sought out business mentors earlier, rather than trying to go it alone. To learn the practicalities they undertook small business workshops and built networks through the South Australian Young Entrepreneur Scheme (SAYES) offered by Business SA. Working with their accountant to set up the financial side properly was an important contributor to their success.

Her advice to budding graduate entrepreneurs is to learn the basics by attending business enterprise workshops, to build networks with experienced business owners and to find a good accountant to establish a good financial grounding for the business.

LinkedIn iconView Jenny's LinkedIn profile

David PatersonDavid Paterson

Director, Innovation, World Vision Australia and World Vision New Zealand

Bachelor of Business (Administrative Management)

Published 2011

A year studying in Africa in his 20s made a lasting impression on marketing strategist, David Paterson, ultimately leading to a career transformation from corporate life to working with the world's largest international aid and development NGO.

His community activities include serving on the board of YMCA Victoria, on the Marketing Industry Advisory Board of Monash University and a co-founder of The Bridge Project, a ground-breaking community initiative that has reduced juvenile criminal re-offending rates from over 60% down to just 3%.

In 2007 he joined World Vision, the world's largest international aid and development NGO, serving more than 100 million people each year across more than 70 countries.

David's switch from corporate life to World Vision was influenced by a stint in Africa in his early 20s, where he spent 12 months living and studying. This experience remained with him through all the years of establishing a career and raising a young family.

"It was a brilliant experience and one that left a lasting impression on me. As they say, despite all its challenges, Africa does 'get under your skin'," said David.

In 2005 he was invited to do the Williamson Community Leadership Program in Victoria where he met the current Australian of the Year, Simon McKeon, who was a board member of World Vision at the time.

"Through that connection I began to do some pro bono strategy work for their board and senior management. And I course, I loved it."

"In 2007, while I was Chief Marketing Officer of Medibank Private, I received an out-of-the-blue phone call from Tim Costello, CEO of World Vision, asking me to lead a key transformation they wanted to undertake."

Working at World Vision has enabled him to spend time in places like the slums of Soweto, Chennai, Phnom Penh, Jakarta and Sao Paulo - and in the rural areas of Zimbabwe, Malawi, and India.

"Three key things stand out for me. The first is the inspiring example of community leaders who - despite incredible odds and having very little themselves - continue to fight for a better life for their families and communities. The second is the simple but clever innovations that can have a profoundly positive effect on peoples' lives. The third is that look of deep joy and pride when parents are able to sustainably provide for their own families and see a brighter future for their community."

After 12 years in interstate and international roles, David is excited to be returning home to Adelaide and making it his base for his new position of 'Director of Innovation', looking ahead to the sorts of things World Vision could/should be doing in five or ten years' time.

Asked what advice he would offer to new graduates, David quoted the words of Chinese philosopher and military strategist, Sun Tzu: "Opportunities multiply as they are seized."

Ken Pereira1Dr Ken Pereira

Founder and Director, Hibiscus Petroleum Berhad, Malaysia

Doctorate in Business Administration

Published 2011

For as long as he can remember Ken Pereira wanted to be an engineer. His interest in the oil industry was sparked by listening to the adventures of his flatmate while studying for his engineering degree at the University of Bath in England.

'I shared an apartment with a friend who was working for an oil services company called Schlumberger and he had a very interesting lifestyle', said Ken, who won the role of Field Service Engineer at Schlumberger.

He spent the next 8 years working for the company in several countries in North Africa and Europe, learning about the industry from the ground up.

'The Schlumberger experience taught me the technical component of looking for oil but there was key element that was missing from my jigsaw puzzle, finance, and more particularly, how do you put together enough capital to set-up an oil company?'

This question was to become the seed of Ken's doctoral thesis many years later.

In the meantime Ken completed an MBA researching the oil service environment in Malaysia and that thesis catalysed the founding and growth of a company called Sapura Energy which later became SapuraCrest Petroleum. He spent ten years there as the Chief Operating Officer, watching the company grow to become one of Malaysia's largest oil service companies.

Ken's goal was always to answer the big question of financing and establishing an oil company, so he decided to research it in a structured way by pursuing a doctorate at the University of South Australia's International Graduate School of Business.

Ken's doctoral thesis focused on start-up, survival and growth strategies for small oil and gas exploration and production companies, and this motivated him to start Hibiscus Petroleum in 2011, the first independent oil company listed on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange.

He has often told the story about the lesson he learned from the movie 'Apollo 13', where in the face of impending disaster the crew saves the space capsule by heeding the commander's advice to focus on the controls that are working, not on the failed equipment.

'That is a key lesson for me: to be an effective leader, in real-time decision-making, focus more on the positives, build on things that work. The second lesson from that movie is about teamwork. It is truly amazing what teamwork and team chemistry can achieve.'

His advice to new graduates is to be happy to start at the bottom of the ladder because that was the place to learn, as his father had told him, based on the old adage that knowledge is near the bottom of the ladder and wisdom is near the top.

'And be a team player. In the long run, you will be rewarded. Most important of all, each time, focus on the positives of a situation and it will make you solution-minded . . . every time!'

'In business you never ignore intuition, particularly if you get a recurring feeling about something. If you are attempting something innovative or different, it is more likely intuition, rather than logic, that will be your guide post,' said Ken.

Ken is keen to reward the backers of his new venture by working hard on building Hibiscus Petroleum, leaving a legacy for his three children. He is also is interested in doing some part time lecturing to keep in touch with new ideas and to share his own experiences.

Ferdinand Pit, APMFerdinand Pit, APM

Manager, South Australia Police Human Resource Management Branch

Bachelor of Social Science
Associate Diploma in Business (Justice Admin)

Published 2011

Superintendent Ferdinand (Ferdi) Pit was recognised in the 2011 Australia Day Honours list with an Australian Police Medal for his outstanding leadership and significant contribution to policing in South Australia. He made a significant contribution to human resources management across the force and as Officer-in-Charge of the Elizabeth Local Service Area (LSA), where he was based from 2005 until late last year.

"The award is particularly satisfying as it recognises and takes account of the varied jobs I have been involved with, particularly my time as the Officer in Charge of the Elizabeth LSA," he says.

Ferdi joined the force as an adult recruit in 1976 and went through a 'fast track' training process, before being posted to the Para Hills Police Station as a patrol officer for three years. He then spent 12 years in STAR Force where he progressed through the ranks. It was during this time he attended UniSA and completed an Associate Diploma in Business (Justice Admin) in 1992, before going on to study a Bachelor of Social Science in 1997.

He did the bulk of his study while working a full 24/7 police roster and juggling family responsibilities. Looking back on his time as a student he values the help he received from other students when he missed classes, the patience of the lecturers, and most importantly the opportunity to learn and reflect in a supportive environment.

Mentors have played a positive role in his career, from both a professional and a personal perspective.

"I have had the benefit of both an 'official' mentor as part of SAPOL's self development opportunities as well as those relationships developed both within my profession as well as external to it," he says, citing his wife as his most important mentor.

Ferdi has recently taken up a senior management role as Manager of SAPOL's Human Resource Management Branch.

"I see this as an opportunity to provide ideas and hopefully positive leadership using the experience I have gained," he says.

"I have learnt a great deal about people during my time as an operational manager of an area that has both metropolitan and rural aspects, rich and poor people, high unemployment - particularly youth."

He has some simple but pertinent advice to graduates just starting their professional careers.

"Grab every opportunity to put into practice the things you have learned and be prepared to work hard."

Dr Chitra RajaramDr Chitra Rajaram

Senior Vice President Vasantham Channel
Mediacorp Pty Ltd

PhD Business and Management, University of South Australia, 2000

Published 2012

Dr Chitra Rajaram is currently the head of Vasantham Channel, MediaCorp, where she oversees all the network programming and promotions of the predominantly Tamil language channel dedicated to Singapore's Indian community.

She joined MediaCorp as Deputy Editorial Director in March 2008, and was responsible for all editorial content across all three platforms – radio, television and print. She was also responsible for the convergence of all three platforms.

Before joining MediaCorp Dr Rajaram was Regional Managing Director of Golin Harris, an international Public Relations Agency operating in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.

Curiosity and a love for writing led her into working as a print journalist, then taking on the role of Lecturer/Head, Mass Media and Journalism Section, Film and Media Studies at Ngee Ann Polytechnic in Singapore. She was part of the pioneering team that established the first mass communication diploma program during her six-year tenure there.

In 1998 Dr Rajaram became the first female editor of daily Singapore newspaper Tamil Murasu Under her seven-year stewardship the business grew from a fledgling newspaper to a profitable enterprise, with substantial increases in circulation and advertising revenue. The paper also took on greater community orientation, with the launch of the very successful Tamil Murasu's 'Indian Family of the Year' award and later the 'Most Inspiring Tamil Teacher' award.

Dr Rajaram is very active in government and community circles in Singapore. She was heavily involved in supporting abused Indian women at the Singapore Indian Development Association (SINDA), developing her own program which has successfully helped to change lives.

In 2004 Dr Rajaram spearheaded a community project to raise more than one million Singapore dollars to set up an education trust fund for poor Indian children.

She has been recognized in several Singaporean Community Achievement Awards and was the first woman ever to be awarded the Global Indian Achiever Award by the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin in 2005. In 2009 she was honoured as one of six women achievers in their field by the Singapore Women's Weekly in the Media and Arts category.

Dr Rajaram looks at career highlights in the broader context of making a difference to others.

"The highlights are what I was able to do to make a difference to people because of the career I have had. For example, if I hadn't been the editor of the Tamil daily, Tamil Murasu, I am not sure if I would have been able to raise money for poor children or render assistance to Indian women. These efforts to me are highlights, rather than my career itself."

Dr Rajaram would like to share her experiences in a book one day, but her work at Vasantham will keep her busy for a while more.

"To be honest, I am enjoying my current role at the TV channel. It is very different from journalism, news and current affairs, which is predominantly my background. The challenge here is, with the plethora of platforms available, how do you get people to watch your channel? So there is a lot of work to be done here, especially when charting the future of television. Where does television go from here?"

Trevor RitchieTrevor Ritchie

Occupational Therapist, Novita Children’s Services

Bachelor of Applied Science

March 2014

Trevor Ritchie made history when he graduated from University of South Australia on 20 March and became the first Indigenous occupational therapist in South Australia. Trevor is the recipient of the Irene and David Davy Scholarship for Advancement of Aboriginal Education. The scholarship, open to Australian Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander students in the final year of an undergraduate program at the University of South Australia, was established thanks to a bequest by Irene and David Davy, two South Australians whose own limited formal education never stopped them from encouraging others to follow their academic goals.

For Trevor, the milestone of becoming the first Indigenous OT in South Australia is his own personal important step forward in closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

"Life expectancy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders is significantly shorter than non-Indigenous Australians and they experience higher rates of preventable illness such as heart disease and diabetes," Trevor says.

"I experienced this health inequity first hand - I grew up in the country on an Aboriginal mission called Point Pearce and as a child I always had health issues.

"I chose to study OT because of my own experiences and health issues and because the core values of OT – equity, social justice and a holistic approach to health – align with my own values.

"As the first Aboriginal occupational therapist in South Australia I have a sense and a passion to lead and support other Indigenous allied health professionals to follow in my footsteps. It's easy to feel overwhelmed by the enormity of closing the gap in Aboriginal health inequity but I'm committed to playing my part." The Bachelor of Applied Science (Occupational Therapy) graduate has already secured a position, working as an OT at Novita Children's Services. Trevor also works part-time as a graduate project officer at UniSA, supporting a number of Indigenous student engagement activities at the University.

"As a health professional I hope I'll be able to push for generational change through my personal interactions with Aboriginal clients, ensuring they receive the best evidenced-based care," Trevor says.

"I want to be proactive in the development of holistic policy for Aboriginal people that takes into account the social determinants of health such as education and housing employment.

"I am also passionate about education and I hope to promote the recruitment and retention of Aboriginal students at university, and to enable more Aboriginal professional health workers in our communities."

Dato Dr Noel RobertDatuk Dr Noel Robert

Chief Executive Officer, Kolej YPC, Kuala Lumpur 

Doctor of Business Administration, University of South Australia, 2010
Master of Advanced Business Practice, University of South Australia, 2008

Published 2012

Dr Robert is founder and CEO of Kolej YPC (YPC International College), a
private college based in Kuala Lumpur. Kolej YPC offers Foundation, Diploma and Bachelor courses in Accounting, Business, IT and Multimedia Computing.

Kolej YPC was established with the primary objective of providing affordable educational opportunities, especially to the lower income group Dr Robert said.

"Kolej YPC is unique in that it serves the community – it is not a 'community college' but rather it is a college that serves the needs of the community. It aims to be the champion of affordable quality education."

"Through its strategic partnership with Cheras Educational Foundation, Kolej YPC adds a new dimension to educational social responsibility by providing scholarships and financial assistance to students, providing free training for teachers and rewarding students who excel in examinations  with cash rewards and books."

"Extending its social reach to the community beyond students Kolej YPC teamed up with another foundation in 2012 to provide free tailoring and baking skills to single mothers to enable them to create a livelihood," said Dr Robert.

Dr Robert started his career in internal audit and finance with several large multinational companies. During the 1997 financial crisis he witnessed major restructuring and downsizing resulting in the loss of thousands of jobs.

"It was a very sad and life changing moment and moved me to find ways to help employees. This prompted me to venture into education," he said.

Always a keen learner and wanting to improve himself continuously, Dr Robert embarked on his Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program with University of South Australia in 2004.

"I took six long arduous stress-and tension-filled years to finally complete the program concurrent with my full time job as CEO."

Dr Robert's research paper title was 'Students' decision making in the selection of private colleges'.

"This research has helped me immensely as it shed in-depth insight onto the factors that students consider when making decisions to enrol in private colleges for higher education," said Dr Robert, who later went on to complete an Executive Doctor of Business Administration (EDBA) from UBI, Brussels in Belgium (2008).

He became a member of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants of the United Kingdom in 1986, a Chartered Accountant with the Malaysian Institute of Accountants in 1988, and a Fellow of Certified Public Accountant s Australia (FCPA) in 2008.

Currently focused in Kuala Lumpur, Dr Robert's dream is to replicate the success of Kolej YPC in each of the thirteen states in Malaysia.

Nathaniel SchmidtNathaniel Schmidt

Cinematographer, Editor and Visual Storyteller

Bachelor of Media Arts

 April 2014

Nathaniel Schmidt is a freelance cinematographer, editor and visual storyteller currently based in Minneapolis in the USA. In 2012 he graduated from the University of South Australia with a Bachelor of Media Arts specialising in Film & TV. Nathaniel moved to the US following his graduation, and landed his first professional role with World Cycling productions – editing footage from renowned international road cycling competitions like the Tour de France, Paris Roubaix, Giro d’Italia and the Tour of Flanders.

 He scored an early career highlight when he met prominent international cycling commentator Phil Liggett and recorded commentary from him during the Lance Armstrong doping saga. Such chance encounters, Nathaniel notes, are priceless in an industry where reputation-building is crucial to success. 

“The creative industry is very competitive, and is not as advertised as others,” he says. 

“You have to pursue interactions with people so they see you as more than a resume.” 

Early in his career Nathaniel struck up a defining relationship with South Australian media identity Brenton Ragless, who began mentoring him after the pair met at a UniSA networking event. 

“Brenton has been very generous with his time with me,” Nathaniel says. 

“The positive energy he pours out into everyday life is great to be around – what he gives to you, you also want to return, and that attitude I have found is key to success in networking.” 

Networking also led Nathaniel to work with photographer and director Jonathan Chapman, on collaborative projects with major clients including Samsung, McDonalds, Symantec, Target and Minnesota Twins Baseball. 

“Working with Jonathan has undoubtedly kick started my career – I’ve had a lot of great opportunities with him,” Nathaniel says. 

“A key element in our relationship is collaboration; there’s often a mentality to be very protective of your creative ideas and who you work with, but through collaborating (with Jonathan) I learnt so much more.” 

Nathaniel also gives some credit for his international success to UniSA’s Global Experience program. 

The program saw him undertake an overseas study tour to Prague in the Czech Republic in 2010 followed by an international student exchange at Colorado State University in 2011. . 

“Global Experience gave me the opportunity to apply my skills and see career relevancy; it was key for me to get to where I am now and made my degree much more worthwhile,” he says. 

Now he has begun to establish his name in the American industry, Nathaniel has consolidated his work into his own freelance business, ‘Nathaniel Schmidt Visual Storytelling’. 

He also feels adjusted to life in a country he describes as a “land of opportunity”. 

“You really do have the freedom to be as successful as you want if you work for it – it’s really fast paced, and everyone wants to be creating the next big thing,” he says. 

However, Nathaniel does admit to taking a lot more inspiration from Australia since he left. 

“Once you're apart from it for a while you realise the beauty of it more… I see things differently and it grounds me back to my roots.” 

“I always make a point of going down to the Fleurieu Peninsula at least once when I come back – I spent a lot of time there on holidays as a kid, so it gives me a lot of inspiration.” 

For more information on Nathaniel Schmidt Visual Storytelling visit nathanielschmidt.comTwitter or Instagram.

LinkedIn View Nathaniel Schmidt's LinkedIn profile 

Beata SerafinBeata Serafin

Director, Aerometrex

Bachelor of Interior Design

February 2014

 Beata Serafin is Director and co-owner of Aerometrex, an award-winning Adelaide geospatial mapping and aerial photography company. She graduated with a Bachelor of Interior Design from the University of South Australia in 2000.

Beata found her professional calling at university, where she started designing transportable buildings and developed an interest in 3D modelling software. She soon began tutoring at UniSA in 3DMax and Photoshop, and after building up experience, she landed a software teaching job with Steven Leach Associates in Kuala Lumpur. Training foreign architects and designers in presentation software is an experience Beata rates very highly.

'My time in Kuala Lumpur was not only a highlight career-wise, but also on a personal level,' she says.

'Upon return from Malaysia, I continued external assistance to the company and staff whom over time I had grown very fond of.'

Back in Adelaide, Beata's career path took another exciting turn with a chance job opportunity.

'I came across Aerometrex, a photogrammetry company which was looking for people with Photoshop experience,' she says.

'Working for Aerometrex, I was trained in many new geospatial related-skills – I was like a sponge savouring every lesson.'

Beata worked her way up through the company over the years and eventually reached what she describes as the pinnacle of her career so far.

'From humble beginnings I am now proud to be director and co-owner of this company... a company that is still growing and developing, and strangely enough a well functioning family.'

She is one of five company directors who each contribute to business strategy. In her specific role, Beata is responsible for overseeing the company's department of stereo photogrammetry (3D mapping data generated from aerial imagery), and coordinates the unit's projects and software procurement. Now that she is settled into a senior role within the geospatial sector, Beata looks back positively at how her UniSA degree helped her climb the professional ladder.

'All the skills I have learnt while studying in one field have been of use and benefit in another,' she says.

'I remember being told by numerous lecturers - you never know where your career path will take you.'

LinkedIn View Beata Serafin's LinkedIn profile

Linda ShaveLinda Shave

Researcher, writer, consultant, auditor, educator
and project manager

Graduate Diploma in Business Information Management

September 2014

  Linda Shave is a Brisbane-based IT consultant who works with big data, digital content and cloud computing. Her career spans from the time when data was stored on mainframe computers the size of a room. She is now focusing applying new technologies like machine-to-machine intelligence to information and data management.

Linda, the daughter of a career British serviceman, spent most of her formative years in Malaysia, Singapore and West Germany. Her introduction to technology was during her first job in Air Traffic Control for 661 Aviation Squadron Army Air Corps at Detmold in Germany. She spent seven years working for NATO and the British forces in West Germany where she gained wide experience in air, land and sea logistics, leadership, information, security and resource management.

It was during this time that Linda became interested in wearable computing technologies and the early version of augmented technologies such as head-mounted displays used by helicopter pilots.

When Linda moved to Australia from Germany in 1980 she remained in the aviation Industry for two decades, working for Qantas and Qantek. She was involved in numerous change management projects, including coordinating the relocation of over 900 staff and associated technology from Sydney CBD to Mascot airport. She was awarded the the Qantas Customer Service Excellence Award in 1993.

For four years until mid-2010 Linda was Information, Integration and Compliance Manager for the City of Ryde, where she was the project manager and single-handedly designed, developed and implemented the enterprise-wide information management solution for the Council. The project was recognized with a Washington DC-based 2010 Computerworld Gold Medal Laureate for Government Innovation for Linda and a Crystal Plaque for the City 
of Ryde.

During 2010-2012 she undertook a Graduate Diploma in Business Information Management via distance education at UniSA.

Linda is now a Brisbane based researcher and consultant. She is involved in how big data and cloud are changing business models by dissolving traditional boundaries between government, partners and customers. She has contributed to the Queensland Government Digital Strategy, Big Data.

Linda's next steps are designing and implementation of solutions on how to embed indelible 'watermarks', apply semantic tagging and metadata into data assets for tracking, auditing, compliance, information management and data security. She is also looking at how the 21st century manager must adapt in order to succeed in managing virtual information assets in the digital age by providing thought leadership, skills and knowledge.

She is also exploring wearable devices such as Google Glass and how these might be used for distance education. She says that Google Glass could draw upon augmented reality and have applications in distance education, a belief supported by a recent inaugural Google Glass event which was hosted in May 2014 by Professor Nick Klomp, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) at the University of Canberra's Inspire Centre. It was also explored in the Gold Coast TechConnect conference that Linda organised.

"Google Glass will have the potential to provide data and information and deliver 'content based' teaching on demand to external students anytime, anywhere, any place as if they were sitting in the auditorium," says Linda.

LinkedIn View Linda Shave's LinkedIn profile

Irene StabelosIrene Stabelos

Manager Learning BankSA Retail and St.George Retail

Bachelor of Adult and Vocational Education

Published 2011

 The development of innovative workplace learning programs is one of the highlights of Irene Stabelos' successful career as a human resources professional in the banking sector.

Irene was born and bred in Streaky Bay and attended Streaky Bay Area School. She commenced a career in banking in 1987 and worked in various roles until reaching a position as a Trainer for one of Australia's big four banks.

"It was during the early few months as a trainer, and completing the certificate training courses in workplace training and assessment, that I became interested in pursuing tertiary qualifications. I wanted to ensure I had academic credibility together with the positional credibility I had earned through the position I held in the Bank," said Irene, who was lucky enough to receive financial and study support from her employer.

"I wanted to be a learning specialist and I sought out the Bachelor of Adult and Vocational Education offered through UniSA."

"The graduation day was one of the absolute highlights for me both personally and professionally, and for my family who were incredibly proud," said Irene, who went on to complete an MBA by distance learning at Charles Sturt University.

Irene recounted three experiences as the most rewarding of her career. The first was the introduction of an online Learner Management System in 2002 that has evolved and is still used today. The second was the design, development and facilitation of a frontline management development program that was launched in 2002 and was delivered until 2010.

The third was her involvement in the design for the BankSA Training centre which opened in 2006 and has a high utilisation rate amongst all departments and business units within BankSA.

"The training centre has facilities for the delivery of sales, service, leadership and systems training and indicates how committed BankSA is to training its staff and setting them up for success," said Irene.

Human resource professionals have witnessed the impact of rapid technological change and increasingly volatile markets and the way this has transformed training and workplace learning.

"In such a volatile fast paced environment, people have to receive, learn and adjust to new information quickly and that means a great deal of accountability on the part of the employee," said Irene.

"Employers need to provide many learning options for employees which are available 'just in time' to be able to increase skill and knowledge levels in a manner that does not remove people from the workplace. Learning at your desk/in the workplace with your team through a variety of media has greater emphasis rather than the traditional classroom attendance."

She also identified employees' use of social media as another challenge which calls for a flexible response from employers, who also need to explore ways to engage with staff via these mediums.

Irene's current role takes her to Sydney on a regular basis, so achieving work-life balance is a challenge. She uses the weekends to unwind and enjoys walking and running.

"For me running and walking provides great thinking time and helps to put a number of challenges into perspective," said Irene, who is a member of the South Australian Road Runners Club.

Throughout her career Irene has held onto one of the best pieces of advice she has received: "You are fully accountable for the direction of your career."

Her advice to new graduates commencing their careers resonates with her philosophy of lifelong learning.

"Whilst you may get qualifications when you get your degree or masters, you need to ensure you remain current, relevant and up to date with your field of expertise. Also get involved with professional bodies in your field. For me it's the Australian Human Resources Institute and the Australian Institute of Training and Development."

Irene's next formal learning goal is to study law or organisational behaviour.

Robert Styling AFSM OAMRobert Styling AFSM OAM

General Manager Human Resources,
Phoenix Society, Adelaide

Bachelor of Education (Adult and Further Education)

Published 2013

 Robert Styling has had a distinguished management career in the disability services sector and as a volunteer in the South Australian Country Fire Service.

As General Manager Human Resources at Phoenix Society in Adelaide Robert has been part of huge strategic change in his 25 years with the organisation. Phoenix Society is a A$20 million business that employs, trains and develops people with disabilities to attain an improved quality of life. It has six operating locations in metropolitan and country locations in South Australia and employs 500 people with disabilities and over 100 able-bodied staff.

Robert has been actively involved in National Disability Services for over 20 years and is currently National Chairperson of the Australian Disability Enterprises Committee which represents some 400 services employing some 18,000 people with disabilities in Australia.

Robert was awarded the Order of Australia (OAM) in the 2012 Australia Day Honors for service to people with a disability through advocacy and employment programs and to the community.

He has also worked with Persatuan Daybreak in Ipoh Malaysia for some 15 years, providing advice and support as they have developed into one of the leading service providers in Malaysia.

As a volunteer firefighter for South Australian Country Fire Service (CFS) for over 40 years Robert has assisted in the development of Leadership Programs. He has been involved a number of major bushfires in South Australia and interstate. He was awarded the Australian Fire Service Medal for Distinguished Service to the CFS in 2006.

His other passion is motorsport and since 2001 he has been the Assistant Chief Fire Marshall at the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix as well as being involved with the Clipsal 500 Event in Adelaide since its inception.

LinkedIn iconView Robert Styling's LinkedIn profile 

Kate SwafferKate Swaffer

Writer and International Dementia Advocate

Bachelor of Arts (Writing & Creative Communication) 2009, Bachelor of Psychology 2010

April 2014

 Kate Swaffer is a writer, poet, blogger and advocate of dementia, whose own health issues sparked an admirable but accidental career reinvention. At 49 she was diagnosed with a rare younger onset dementia. Just four years earlier she underwent neurosurgery to treat an Arnold Chiari brain malformation. Up to that point, Kate had built successful careers as a nurse, a health care sales executive and a chef in her own food business.

 Her illnesses may have spelt the end of those career pathways, but they inspired a new one in advocacy and community service. 

“My illnesses have increased my humility and my concept of humanity – and while I still have a voice, I feel a responsibility to speak out for those who don't,” Kate says. 

“Stigma and discrimination is still very real amongst the community, employers, the health care sector, and even in the organisations who claim to advocate for us.” 

“I speak out to raise awareness, change perceptions of dementia, and break down barriers caused by the stigma and discrimination.” 

The central point for Kate’s work is her extensive website and blog, which has been archived in the PANDORA Collection of the National Library and South Australian State Library and is a globally-recognised academic resource. She is currently working with a UK publisher on a book about her experiences living with dementia and is preparing the release of two poetry volumes, to go with one she has already had published. Her story My Unseen Disappearing World was performed as a theatre production at the 2012 Adelaide Fringe Festival. 

Kate also consults on dementia education programs at institutions including the University of Edinburgh, the University of Tasmania, NSW DementiaCare, and Domiciliary Care SA. In her local Adelaide community she volunteers for The Big Issue and The Bereaved Through Suicide Support Group. 

Academic study has also become a main feature of Kate’s post-diagnosis work; she completed a Bachelor of Arts (Writing & Creative Communication) and a Bachelor of Psychology at UniSA and is now studying a Master’s of Science in Dementia Care. Currently one person is diagnosed with dementia every 4 seconds around the world, and Kate hopes she can lead other diagnosed people to empowerment. 

“People with dementia should accept the symptoms as disabilities to be managed, rather than a pathway to death which is how it is currently perceived,” she says. 

“I hope that by example, I can show other people with dementia they can still live well with it; that they don't have to give up their pre-diagnosed lives.” 

“Learning new things, continuing to study, and advocating for myself and others has been imperative to my sense of well-being, and I believe the reason for the slow progression of the disease.” 

Alongside her personal work, Kate is Chair of the Alzheimer’s Australia Dementia Advisory Committee, a working group of people with dementia who drive national policy and projects. She is a co-founding board member of Dementia Alliance International, and a member of the Older Person Clinical Network in SA which helps develop the national and state-based Dementia Framework. 

Kate is also regularly invited to speaking engagements; she delivered a keynote speech to the 2012 Biennial Alzheimer’s conference in Wellington, and is scheduled to present again at the Alzheimer’s 2014 conference in Puerto Rico, having presented at ADI2012 in London and again at ADI2013 in Taipei. She also spoke at the 2011 Alzheimer’s Australia Fight Dementia national campaign rally. 

Visit Kate’s blog at, and the Dementia Alliance International website at

Amy, Kate and Sophie TaeuberAmy Taeuber

Reporter at Ten News

Kate Taeuber

Researcher and Junior Reporter at Today Tonight

Sophie Taeuber

Copywriter and Content strategist at ZibMedia

B. Journalism, 2009, Master of Journalism, 2011

Published 2013

It's never easy embarking on a journey into an industry as competitive as broadcast media – but for sisters Amy, Kate and Sophie Taeuber, that journey has delivered a trifecta of valuable career opportunities.

Studying Journalism together at UniSA, the sisters exercised their skills with freelance writing work, and made a strong impression in their final year at the faculty's news industry night.

All three girls were able to secure junior roles at Network Ten News after sharing their work with a captive audience of industry professionals.

Sophie – whose story was judged best on the night – continues to work with Ten as a freelance reporter.

It's a similar story for Amy, who has now gone on to join the Seven Network's Today Tonight program as a researcher and junior reporter.

"The news night is what helped Kate, Sophie and I get the initial foot in the door at Network Ten," Amy says.

She believes her education was crucial to getting her where she is today.

"UniSA gives Journalism students a helping hand in getting their skills up to scratch – we were able to gain important feedback from media professionals."

Kate, who moved into a job as a copywriter and content strategist for online marketing company ZibMedia, agrees.

"Studying journalism has opened a lot of doors into the media world and helped me gain good contacts," she says.

"My next step would be to hopefully break into broadcast reporting, which is my ultimate goal."

A combination of studying and practical experience is something Amy thinks all budding students should aim for.

"The earlier you start doing work experience at different places, the more contacts you'll have made when you graduate," she says.

"You need to show you can do anything, and hopefully at some point they'll throw you a challenge."

Wendy (Lung Hsing) TaiWendy (Lung Hsing) Tai

HR Director, Audi China (Volkswagen Group China)

International Master of Business Administration

Published 2013

Wendy is HR Director with the Volkswagen Group, responsible for Audi China in Beijing. She has worked for the Volkswagen Group for seven years, starting as Head of HR and Support Services in the Malaysia office before being transferred to her current role.

She is responsible for developing and implementing all human resource policies and programs, developing performance management processes and providing advice to management. An important part of her role is the integration of diverse cultures to create a good working culture.

Wendy began her career in public relations and marketing communications in the hospitality industry. An interest in people led Wendy to venture into the human resources field, starting as a specialist in employer branding and recruitment. Since then she has gained experience across the whole of the HR spectrum, including the hospitality, gaming and automotive industries.

Wendy began her first HR role in 1995 as the Fleet Manager with Star Cruises, where she was responsible for the HR in the fleet gaming section.

Before joining the Volkswagen Group in Kuala Lumpur, Wendy was a Managing Consultant with Foster Partners specializing in C-level placements and HR consultancy services.

She undertook an International Master of Business Administration at the University of South Australia. After graduating in 2001 Wendy became an active member of the University of South Australia Alumni Association of Malaysia. She is currently a member of the Australia China Alumni Association.

Wendy is a certified mentor and coaches aspiring managers in management and leadership. Her regional experience includes South East Asia, China and Europe. In future she would like to move on to a regional role developing emerging markets.

LinkedIn iconView Wendy Tai's LinkedIn profile 

Eleanor TanEleanor Tan

VP Marketing M2 Academy, Singapore

Bachelor of Arts (Communication and Media Management)

July 2014

University of South Australia communications graduate Eleanor Tan is the Vice President, Marketing at M2 Academy, UniSA’s new education partner in Singapore. 

On 8 July M2 Academy, in partnership with UniSA, officially launched its state-of-the-art campus in the Singapore Orchard Gateway building in the heart of Singapore’s Orchard Road shopping district. The campus, situated opposite the Somerset MRT station on Orchard Road, aims to bring the modern university campus experience to a new generation of Singaporeans. 

Eleanor completed a Bachelor of Communications and Media Management at one of UniSA’s offshore programmes in Singapore in 2002. She spent the last 12 years since graduating building her marketing strategy expertise in B2B and consumer marketing in various senior roles in consumer goods industries in Singapore, UK, China and Hong Kong. 

She was Marketing Manager for Global Treasure Industries Limited, a China-based baby products and health care manufacturer, from 2007 to late 2010, and then moved to Hong Kong, spending more than one and half years as Senior Consumer Marketing Manager for Philips Consumer Lifestyle – Philips AVENT. 

Eleanor’s initial move into education came in January 2013 when she took on the role of Regional Marketing Manager for GEMS Education (East Asia), based in Singapore. 

When the M2 Academy marketing role presented itself a year later, Eleanor was excited by the opportunity to really make a difference in the Singapore education world. 

“I am excited that we are offering students a very different student-focussed experience which is directly modelled on the University of South Australia’s student experience,” says Eleanor. 

“Local students want extra-curricular activities. They want a lecturer who actually knows your name. Overall they are looking for a more interactive learning experience. 

“The student experience is really at the heart if it all," she says. 

“Even the way we plan the role of our Concierge is really taking into the consideration the student’s experience — from when they enrol through to when they graduate. After graduation we still have programmes that will meet their lifelong learning needs. 

“Our Student Relationship Manager is not just responsible for enrolling the students, they are responsible for the care of their student throughout their study with us,” says Eleanor. 

A core promise of the M2 Academy / University of South Australia partnership is to relate learning to real life working experience. Its industry engagement programme will give students access to senior industry leaders as guest speakers and mentors and access to real case studies during their studies. 

The series of lunch time talks by industry leaders will be promoted to the public and UniSA alumni. The Academy is also offering full access of the Orchard Gateway campus’ facilities to University of South Australia alumni in Singapore. 

Enrolments for M2 Academy are now open for the academic year commencing in September 2014
New degree programmes initially being offered include: Bachelor of Communications and Media,
Bachelor of Business (Tourism and Events), and Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting), Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) and Masters of Engineering (Engineering Management).

Melissa TanMelissa Tan

Country Representative for Malaysia, University of
South Australia

Bachelor of Management (Marketing)

Published 2011

Melissa Tan, the recently elected Vice President of the University of South Australia Malaysia Chapter, is active in her profession and her region.

Melissa graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor of Management (Marketing) and started as a consultant with Towers Watson in Kuala Lumpur.

"My projects allowed me to work with a range of people across continents. It's amazing how much one can learn by just bouncing ideas off the diverse team. It is also nice to know how my contribution to the team adds up to the bigger picture of helping organisations improve performance."

A career highlight for Melissa was winning a Gold Award in the HSBC Young Entrepreneur Awards in Hong Kong in 2007. She was part of a team representing Malaysia for this business development plan competition.

"The business plan involved converting a by product into environmentally friendly fish feed, resulting in cheaper overheads for fish breeders and leading to affordable fish for every family. The grand prize included a study tour to visit corporations in Hong Kong and China - an experience of a lifetime!" she said.

Melissa agrees that the working culture in Asia is fast-paced and highly competitive and spending longer hours at the office is the norm. Her Australian experience encouraged her to incorporate work-life balance at the workplace and she is President of Towers Watson Corporate Social Responsibility and Recreational Committee.

Her latest venture is Browniepoints, a non profit online platform she founded with a friend to assist local NGOs to raise awareness and much needed funds. In March 2012 she began working for her alma mater, as Country Representatives for Malaysia, University of South Australia.

"I make time for non-work-related activities. All work and no play makes Jill a dull girl. It is important to unwind in your free time, doing things that are close to your heart. Aside from organising activities for the UniSA alumni chapter, I spend my time rock climbing (indoors) and catching up with loved ones."

Melissa encourages anyone thinking of studying in Australia to go with an open mind and be prepared to indulge in the wonderful culture and experience.

"Networking is important and can be mutually beneficial. You never know where networking will take you. In fact, mu current job spun off from networking."

Melissa's advice to fellow alumni is to apply Pareto's 80:20 rule.

"We are all entitled to 24 hours in a day. Spend 80 percent of your time doing 20 percent of the things that would reap the most benefits. Stay focused, work hard and your dreams will breakthrough to reality."

Dr Satyajit receiving the Michael Miller Medal from Professor Michael MillerDr Satyajit Thakor

Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute of Network Coding
Hong Kong

PhD in Telecommunications

Published 2013

Dr Satyajit Thakor is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute of Network Coding, based at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

The Institute of Network Coding is one of the world's premier research foundations in its field; focused on achieving more efficient transmission of digital data.

Dr Thakor conducts network coding research and compiles reports for publication in international journals and at conferences.

Having previously studied in India and graduated from UniSA with a Masters degree in Telecommunications, Dr Thakor completed his PhD at the University in 2011, assisted by the Australian Government's international Endeavour Research Fellowship grant.

His final thesis won the 2013 Michael Miller Medal – an annual award for the faculty's most creative and influential thesis. Dr Thakor considers the Medal his greatest career highlight to date.

He also thanks his study experience for developing the career skills he now exercises every day.

"The most valuable lesson I learned at UniSA was the process of conducting high quality research and academic writing," he says.

Dr Thakor believes his path to current employment came from a combination of studying and pro-active career seeking.

"I wanted to pursue an academic career, so I started exploring postdoctoral positions while I was writing my PhD thesis," he says.

"Then immediately after submitting my PhD thesis, I joined as a postdoctoral fellow at one of the best network coding research institutes in the world."

In 2014 Dr Thakor will join the Indian Institute of Technology Mandi as an Assistant Professor.

LinkedIn icon View Dr Satyajit Thakor's LinkedIn profile 

Arun ThomasArun Thomas

Registered Nurse

Bachelor of Nursing

August 2014

Recent nursing graduate, scholarship recipient and former President of the UniSA Student Association (USASA), Arun Thomas, is so grateful for the opportunities he received while studying here that he has decided to donate to the University.

After leaving India as a 17 year old to study in Australia, Arun became the first international student to be awarded the Resthaven 75th Anniversary Nursing Scholarship in 2012. He is currently exploring options for using his donation to assist international students.

 Arun grew up in the town of Bharananganam in Kerala, India. An average student, he spent more energy on church and youth leadership activities. 

“When I began Year 11, I decided that I wanted to study overseas to be exposed to experiences in another country,” says Arun, who approach his father for help.

 “My dad put to me a proposition that if I achieved above 90% in my Year 12 subjects he would guarantee to assist me financially to go to any university I chose,” says Arun.

 With this challenge to motivate him he worked extremely hard and achieved grades above 95% in his subjects for the first time ever. His lecturers “were gobsmacked” with disbelief, he says. 

Arun chose to come to Adelaide, and having studied the commerce stream at senior high school, he enrolled in a Bachelor of Commerce at University of South Australia. 

Arun was grateful for his father’s support but he was determined to stand on his own two feet. 

“I didn’t want to be dependent on my parents, so when I came here I obtained a Certificate III in Aged Care and worked as a personal care worker in a nursing home which greatly assisted financing my entire university studies,” he said.

Nursing became his real love and he undertook a TAFE Diploma of Enrolled Nursing to gain the science credits to enable him to enter the UniSA Bachelor of Nursing program. 

Having fallen into the pattern of moving back and forth between study and work, Arun decided he wanted to become more engaged in student activities.

“I wanted to be someone that my fellow students looked up to. I wanted to inspire people. I knew that I needed to get out there and engaged with people. That’s how I got into student politics,” says Arun. 

He was encouraged by the former President of the UniSA Student Association, Stephen McCallum. 

“I was elected as student representative for City East Campus and later I was elected as President,” says Arun.

Arun served two terms as President from mid-2012 to mid-2014 and at was recently awarded an Honorary Life Membership to the USASA board. He is the first international student to receive this prestigious award from USASA. 

During Arun’s time as USASA President he oversaw major changes within the Association, including two restructures, a major re-branding and a financial overhaul which saw the organisation turnaround from a financial loss to a profit. 

“It was a very challenging time for the organisation and for me as President,” says Arun. 

“My strength was my passion and being engaged with people. I surrounded myself with experienced people. I took a collaborative approach and was never afraid to fail,” says Arun. 

As USASA President he was also a member of University Council and Academic Board. He is fortunate to be able to count among his mentors UniSA Council members Eric Granger FUniSA FAICD, former General Manager of BUPA, and Paula Nagel AM, Former Chair of Education Adelaide, and senior registered nurse/lecturer, Alan Dowler.

“I am very fortunate and privileged to have mentors in my life. They played a big role in all my success and guided me through some tough times. They have accepted me at my strongest and supported me at my weakest,” says Arun. 

Arun is working in a private hospital in Adelaide and is currently a member of Australian Institute of Company Directors. He would like to combine his leadership, commerce and nursing skills to one day become the CEO of a health care organisation. “

All I want to do is to give back to the community and to make a positive difference in people’s lives by being a role model, and of course to make my alma mater proud,” says Arun, recalling his father’s words: ‘Your Life should not be qualified by fluent English, branded clothes, running for money or rich lifestyle. It is measured by number of faces who smile when they hear your name’."

LinkedIn View Arun Thomas' LinkedIn profile

Jacinta ThompsonJacinta Thompson

Executive Director: Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre

Graduate Diploma Management (Arts Administration)

Published 2013. Updated 2014.

The University of South Australia appointed former OzAsia Festival Director Jacinta Thompson as the head of its Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre in April 2014. 

Jacinta Thompson's passion for Asia underpins her successful career as an arts manager and producer and led to her previous position as Festival Director of the Adelaide Festival Centre's OzAsia Festival.

"I'm still excited by the energy, feel and look of the regions, the amazing array of smells from the tropical fruits and flowers to the rainy season in Ubud and Penang, sitting at roadside warungs sipping Kopi waiting for the rain to stop, watching the world go by. There's always something new and wonderful to explore," said Jacinta, a seasoned traveller in Asia.

Adelaide-born Jacinta Thompson's love of the arts was instilled in her from an early age by her mother and she began her career at 18 years old as a lighting technician on the Adelaide Fringe Festival.

After a two year stint travelling around the UK and working in the hospitality industry Jacinta's desire to work in arts management returned.

"I came across an ad for a BA in Educational Theatre at Adelaide University and started university life as a mature age student under the guidance of the incredible Frank Ford. It was a wonderful time and it turned my life around," said Jacinta.

She went on to complete a Graduate Diploma in Management (Arts Administration) at UniSA, juggling study with full-time work on the Fringe, Adelaide and ComeOut Festivals.

Following a year as the Programming Fellow at the Adelaide Festival Centre in 1997, Jacinta embarked on a 15 month stint as an Australian Volunteer Abroad in the tiny Pacific nation of the Marshall Islands, the site of major US nuclear weapons testing between 1946 and 1958.

Based with Youth to Youth in Health in the capital Majuro, she worked with a visiting Hawaiian producer and young Marshallese creating educational theatre about health, nutrition, family planning and AIDS. One of her proudest achievements was helping the locals win a grant for a youth centre and health clinic which was built after she left.

"The experience made me appreciate many things in my life but more importantly how crucial our cultural life is, especially how important it is for young people to be able to access and enjoy the arts."

Upon her return to Australia Jacinta worked with Robyn Archer on the 2000 Adelaide Festival then headed to Melbourne to work with Regional Arts Victoria before a dream role as Education Program Manager for the Sydney Theatre Company.

She returned to Adelaide in 2003 as Executive Producer of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival.

"It was a great opportunity to return home for. The Cabaret Festival was a total shift in head space and genre for me and gave me the opportunity to work with an array of international and national artists I had not previously worked with before" says Jacinta, who spent four years in the role.

During that time she also undertook a five-month Asialink Residency at The Esplanade Arts Centre in Singapore, where she was able to meet producers and artists from all over Asia. This experience eventually led to her role as Festival Director with the OzAsia Festival, established in 2007 by Adelaide Festival Centre CEO, Douglas Gautier.

The OzAsia Festival is held in September each year and is a two week festival that encompasses dance, theatre, music, forums, food, film, visual arts and the traditional Moon Lantern Festival beside the River Torrens in Elder Park.

During her time as Festival Director, Jacinta has introduced food, film and design components to the festival and established links with many local Asian communities. Since its inception in 2007 OzAsia Festival audiences have grown from 10,000 to over 32,000 people.

"It's truly wonderful that we have the opportunities to culturally engage with these regions and to learn from and work with our neighbours - to me it can only be a positive outcome for all involved," said Jacinta.

Jennifer TosoliniJennifer Tosolini

Aged Care Therapist, ACH Group

Graduate Diploma in Social Science (Counselling Studies)

January 2014

Jennifer Tosolini has turned her senior years into a fresh career start as an aged care therapist and trainer.

She first entered university in 2001, and embarked on a long study journey which brought her to UniSA in 2009 – at the age of 72 – for a Graduate Diploma in Counselling Studies.

At that time she had started volunteering at an aged care facility, coordinating activities for a group of men with Alzheimer's disease and Dementia.

With her improved counselling skills, Jennifer began delivering Cognitive Stimulation and Validation Group Therapy sessions. In 2010 she joined the ACH Group, working at its Milpara facility to deliver therapy sessions in the secure memory unit.

She continues to work with the ACH today and also runs therapy technique presentations and training groups for staff. While working for ACH, Jennifer researched, wrote and coordinated an eight-week support program called 'Life Review - The Getting of Wisdom' for seven other ACH volunteers to apply to their resident care work.

Jennifer was recognised for her volunteer work in October 2012, when she won the COTA SA (Council on the Ageing South Australia) Every Generation Outstanding Achiever award. The award honours outstanding active community contributions by a person over the age of 50. After winning the award, Jennifer told UniSA News of her pride in defying senior citizen stereotypes.

'We're all capable of achieving much more than we think we can,' she said.

'People have to understand that society defines you, only if you let it... it is very limiting to allow others to dictate or define who you are as a person.'

'UniSA has the right attitude to positive ageing, and I'd like to think I'm a good example of positive ageing too.'

Alongside her fresh interest in aged care therapy, Jennifer has also become passionate about public speaking and communication – she is a member of Adelaide Toastmasters Club and has performed stand-up comedy routines.

LinkedIn View Jennifer Tosolini's LinkedIn profile

Steven TriggSteven Trigg

CEO, Carlton Football Club

Graduate Diploma in Management
Bachelor of Education (Secondary Physical Education), South Australian College of Advanced Education

Published 2011. Updated 2014.

Former CEO of the Adelaide Football Club and was appointed CEO of Carlton Football Club in July 2014.

Steven Trigg grew up on a farm near Roseworthy and attended primary school in Gawler, later attending St Peter's College. He graduated from the South Australian College of Advanced Education in 1984 with a Bachelor of Education and taught
for 6 years at St Peter's College.

He then took up a senior HR manager position in the aviation industry until 1996. During this time he played and coached senior football and held presenter roles with the ABC and Channel 9 and as a sports writer for The Advertiser.

In 1997 Steven was named membership and communications manager of the Adelaide Football Club before being appointed CEO in December 2001. During this time he completed a Graduate Diploma in Management and MBA.

Steven named the Adelaide Crows' Premierships in 1997 and 1998 as among the most rewarding experiences of his career.

"But also, clichéd as it is, it's rewarding in this industry to work with and learn from so many outstanding people," he added. Steven said achieving work-life balance came down to a combination of team and personal effort.

"I have good support, especially from senior management - and my Executive Assistant! I also think it is important to be as disciplined (as possible!) in programming time for family - and exercise."

Steven recalled two important guidelines that have helped him in life, the simple motto 'treat others as you would like to be treated yourself' and the advice that ex CEO and Chairman Bill Sanders taught him, "Always get your numbers!"

He offers the following advice to fellow alumni. "Learn how to work on the 'red line'. In high performance sport, we expect our athletes to work at a high intensity, or on the 'red line'. One way of learning that skill (which it is) is to learn from others - to hang with high achievers and learn from them."

Timothy TuppenceTimothy Tuppence

Graphic Designer and Product Designer

Bachelor of Industrial Design, Bachelor of Visual Communication, Graduate Diploma of Visual Art and Design

March 2014

Timothy Tuppence is a graphic and product designer currently based in the Netherlands. He holds a Bachelor of Industrial Design (2010), Bachelor of Visual Communication (2007) and Graduate Diploma of Visual Art and Design (2010) from the University of South Australia In 2013 he began studying at the revered Design Academy Eindhoven for a Master of Contextual Design.

Timothy is set to reap major international exposure in 2014 as he makes his debut at the prestigious Milan Furniture Fair in 'The Other Hemisphere', curated by Sarah K of Sydney. This is the second time 'The Other Hemisphere' has visited Milan to showcase talent from Australia and New Zealand, and Timothy is one of 12 designers on the April 2014 tour, selected by Sarah K and the Dutch hosts of the exhibition venue. The Milan Furniture Fair opened in 1961 and is the largest furniture trade show in the world, with over 2,500 exhibitors and 250,000 patrons attending each year.

Before moving to the Netherlands, Timothy worked in Adelaide as an assistant to renowned designer, consultant and conservator Khai Liew. Timothy was a finalist in the 2013 'Launch Pad' Australian product design competition with his work Wait and Sea, which featured in the competition exhibition at Sydney Indesign. The Launch Pad nomination added to Timothy's earlier accolades including Australian Graphic Design Association Best Student Portfolio 2010 and Design Institute of Australia Merit 2009. He has also previously exhibited at SALA, the Adelaide Fringe, Format Collective and Street Dreams: Urban Art Festival.

LinkedIn View Timothy Tuppence's LinkedIn profile

Matthew UnderwoodMatthew Underwood

Managing Director, Matterhorn Communications Vietnam

Bachelor of Management (Marketing)

July 2014

 It’s one thing to make a successful international career in public relations – and it’s another thing to reinvent the whole market in a developing country. He might ‘shun modesty for a moment’ to tell the story, but the latter is exactly what Matthew Underwood has done in Vietnam. 

A Management graduate of UniSA, Matthew co-founded the country’s first international PR agency in 2004 and now runs his own firm Matterhorn Communications in Ho Chi Minh City.

 Matthew’s early career took him from Adelaide to Wrights in Melbourne and then Upstream Asia in Singapore, where one day the chance for a Vietnamese adventure suddenly presented itself. 

“I received a call from someone who was having a drink with my previous boss in Melbourne,” Matthew recalls. “He said, ‘I heard you are smart enough to run an agency and dumb enough to move to Vietnam?’ I had no idea how to say no to that without somehow offending myself, so I said yes instead – and ten years later, I am still here.” 

That seminal agency Matthew co-developed on his arrival in Vietnam was called TQPR, the country’s first major international PR agency. He saw that the local scene was ‘entrenched in doing things the Vietnamese way’, and took the challenge of shaking things up. 

“We set about building a more internationalised version of the industry… there had been a couple of false starts with foreigners who had attempted to set up consultancies, but ultimately not stuck it out,” he says. 

“In the early days, PR was very much a 'would you like fries with that' add-on sale to an ad-spend and thankfully we have moved out of that shadow somewhat.” 

“There are still issues that I am not entirely thrilled about – the mere existence of advertorials continues to make my skin crawl – but by and large we have managed to position ourselves as pretty valued counsellors to senior managers and carved out a pretty tidy reputation for doing so.” 

By comparison, Edelman – the world’s largest PR firm – took until 2012 to enter the Vietnamese market. Having forged a strong reputation and client base in the region, Matthew went on to launch Matterhorn Communications in 2010 with support from some former TQPR staff. The new venture came as Vietnam tripled its GDP from the early 2000s, continuing to establish itself as a top economic force in Southeast Asia. 

Today, Matthew is excited to see Asia’s consumer base still shifting away from established markets and towards developing economic regions like Vietnam, thanks to burgeoning middle classes and their formidably untapped spending power. “The impact of that shift on any business in communications is huge,” he says. 

“I consider myself lucky to have seen it unfold here in Vietnam over the past decade – some days I barely recognise the place.” 

However, he does warn against lumping Vietnamese trends into the wider category of Asian market development. “It perplexes me a little when people back home talk about Adelaide and Melbourne and Sydney being different markets, and then talk about Asia being as though it is one place,” he says. 

“The incredible diversity you find in this part of the world in terms of development, languages, cultures, religions, histories and historical rivalries, and so on make it a region that is very hard to pigeonhole and very hard to make a unified strategy for.” 

Despite those challenges, Matthew is already a prime example of how to blaze a fresh trail in a completely new place – and he’s got plenty of advice for anyone keen to follow. He encourages new graduates to consider which skills the local industry demands, and how to sell them the way employers want. 

“Study something the others are not and profess your expertise in it; when your job is to make ‘this water’ sound different to ‘that water’, being able to demonstrate it for yourself gets recognised pretty fast,” he says. 

“Also, meet everyone you can… it will probably feel kind of awkward, but everyone remembers what it’s like to be a little lost grad, and people are generally more willing to help than you may think.”

Dianne van Eck and Jo ShanahanDianne van Eck

Director, DVE Business Solutions

Bachelor of Business in Administration Management

Jo Shanahan

Director, DVE Business Solutions

Bach Eng Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering

Published 2013

Dianne van Eck and Jo Shanahan are a mother-daughter team of University of South Australia alumni who lead DVE Business Solutions, a South Australian business improvement consultancy.

Founded by Dianne in 2007, DVE has grown from a home-base operation to offices in Adelaide and Sydney, with a permanent team of staff and network of contractors.

The business works mainly with government agencies, health services and education institutions – including seven of Australia's universities.

Jo oversees DVE's business operations and manages growth strategy, while Dianne works closely with clients and explores new expansion opportunities in Australia and abroad.

Dianne studied a Bachelor of Business in Administration Management part-time while running a small retail business.

After graduating, she worked on projects at UniSA for ten years, including one year serving on the University Council as a General Staff representative. She is still employed as a casual academic in the School of Management and has also taught in Hong Kong.

Dianne says after graduating she "immediately became employable at a much higher level".

"The degree opened doors for me that I had never imagined," she says.

In the final year of her Bachelor of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering degree, Jo undertook a work placement with Origin Energy, and secured a graduate position with multi-national consulting company GHD.

She went on to join Holden as a Senior Manufacturing Engineer in its general assembly plant and then started up Animal Therapeutics Online in 2008, before joining Dianne at DVE. She also owns Warrington Park Equestrian Services, a boutique warmblood stud horse breeder.

She was attracted to her UniSA degree by its practicality and links to professional industries.

"My industry placement and final project both gave me a huge amount of experience and gave me a head start to my career," she says.

She fondly recalls a quote from a past lecturer, who said "we can't teach you to solve every problem – but we can teach you to solve any problem".

Representing DVE, Jo was shortlisted for Service Business of the Year at the 2013 Australian Start Up Awards. In 2012 she received an Honourable Mention in the Anthill '30under30' young entrepreneur awards.

DVE won the National Commonwealth Bank Better Business Booster Award for SA/NT in 2012 and was twice finalist in the Telstra Business Awards.

DVE organised the 2013 Productivity & Innovation Conference in Adelaide and Sydney.

LinkedIn iconView Dianne van Eck's LinkedIn profile,  View Jo Shanahan's LinkedIn profile 

Astrid VargaAstrid Varga

Creative Director and Partner, We Create Brands

Bachelor of Visual Communication (Honours)
Bachelor of Visual Arts

Published 2012

With qualifications in visual arts and design, and with experience in branding behind her, Astrid Varga formed her own business, We Create Brands, with Carrie Buckle in 2009. The company was a finalist in the 2012 Telstra Australian Business Awards.

"I began my creative career as a photographer but the art of visual communication always drew me to branding and identity design. I refined my skills in the wine industry, which confirmed my instincts for the importance of visual image."

"Now, as a graphic designer and branding specialist, I love the chance to develop branding that goes way beyond a logo: branding that connects people and brands in more emotional and instinctive ways."

Astrid's two degrees in visual arts and visual communication opened doors for her early in her working career, offering work experience and job opportunities that may not otherwise have arisen.

"There is no doubt my 7 years of tertiary education at UniSA instilled discipline and a strong work ethic, which has now benefited the business greatly."

We Create Brands was born out of a gap in the marketplace. "We could see the lack of branding services available to small businesses, making it harder for them to become exceptional brands. We wanted to connect passionate business owners with the kind of branding knowhow that creates a lasting competitive edge."

"My greatest achievement would have to be when We Create Brands was a finalist at the 2012 Telstra Australian Business Awards. Coming in at a close second would be having projects short-listed for the Qantm Create Design Awards for the past two years. Awards and achievements are great, but more than anything they spur you on to offer the best service and product to your clients."

In future Astrid hopes to continue to build on the momentum gained over the past 3 years, further growing the business and cementing its reputation as the go-to branding specialist for small and medium enterprises.

"I'm excited looking forward to the day when we can mentor and employ more young graphic designers and help grow the industry in Adelaide. Hopefully that day isn't too far away!"

Astrid's advice to new graduates is to take the opportunities they are presented with and embrace them.

"It may not be your dream job right now, but it could be your stepping stone to it."

We Create Brands is listed on the Alumni Business Directory and offers a complimentary consultation to alumni

LinkedIn iconView Astrid Varga's LinkedIn profile

Neville WadiaNeville Wadia

Health and Fitness Consultant

Master of Business Administration

Published 2011

Neville Wadia has combined his twin interests in fitness and business in a
career that spans two cultures, India and Australia.

Neville was born and grew up in Mumbai, India, before spending five years at university in Australia, completing a Bachelor of Business (Information Systems)
at Edith Cowan University in Perth in 2003, followed by an MBA at UniSA, which he completed in 2009.

His aptitude for sport led him to represent State teams in India for judo and tennis and he played district level soccer and grade cricket. While in Australia he participated in university teams in touch rugby and cricket and played Pennant tennis in Perth, and coached tennis. In 2009 he undertook his MBA internship at the Adelaide Crows Football Club.

After graduating at the end of 2009 he returned to Mumbai and started a small business manufacturing hard wood flooring, for residential and commercial properties, including gyms and squash courts.

"I had always wanted to set up my own business and this seemed interesting, as it was an emerging market with not many players manufacturing their own flooring. Most of it was imported from outside India," said Neville.

"It was a profitable business, but soon I realised that life was getting too monotonous in a 9 to 5 desk job and I just needed to get out and that's when I decided to do something crazy like the Ride for Cancer."

In December last year Neville undertook a 998 kilometre solo bicycle ride from Bangalore to Bombay to raise funds for the Health Awareness Centre, a cancer rehabilitation centre in Mumbai.

"I wanted to do this alone to understand even if only 1% what it feels like to have a disease like cancer. Cancer isn't about the pain, the suffering, treatments. It's about being alone even though you have a million supporters around you. No one understands you or what you're going through at this time. It's such a lonely feeling that it is this that overcomes the individual more than the cancer itself."

"The Health Awareness Centre in Mumbai uses two of the greatest natural boosters of Serotonin (the feel good or happiness hormone in the body), namely fresh healthy food and exercise to treat their so-called terminally ill cancer patients. It changes the patient's lifestyle by making them feel a little better than yesterday. That's the reason I decided to ride for them, bring about some awareness and raise some funds along the way."

He raised AUD 10,500 to fund a pilot project to bring terminally ill cancer patients who cannot afford private healthcare into Bhakti Vedanta Hospital in Mumbai, for a 2 week period, where they are looked after by the hospital's palliative care team and participate in the Health Awareness Centre's program to improve their quality of life.

Since doing the ride, and having practised and taught yoga for the past couple years in India and Geneva, Neville began the move into the health and fitness industry which he hopes to make a full time career. He is currently in Australia learning about Altitude Training Technology and its benefits for weight loss, for asthma to cardio vascular patients and high performance athletes.

He would like to establish a health and fitness centre with rehabilitation for cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular patients and children suffering from obesity.

When asked for his advice to new graduates, Neville's response reflected his adventurous attitude to life.

"Choose a job that you are passionate about, something you could do 10 hours a day 7 days a week, without complaining even once," said Neville.

"Risk is something no UniSA alumni should be afraid of taking, you have been given the tools through your education to deal with risk, without risk there's no fun."

Christopher WainwrightChristopher Wainwright

General Manager, the Adelaide Youth Orchestras

Masters in Management (Arts)

Published 2013

Masters in Management (Arts) alumnus and General Manager of The Adelaide Youth Orchestras, Christopher Wainwright is one of nine South Australians who have been awarded a prestigious 2013 Churchill Fellowship by The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust.

Christopher's project will involve visiting and studying world-leading orchestral education and youth orchestral programs in the UK, Germany and the USA – with the intention of further strengthening the sector in South Australia.

Christopher has been General Manager of Adelaide Youth Orchestras since May 2008 and has fostered a new direction and vision for the company, which comprises four orchestras: the Adelaide Youth Orchestra, Adelaide Youth Wind Orchestra, Adelaide Youth Sinfonia and Adelaide Youth Strings.

Under Christopher's leadership the orchestras have won significant philanthropic and corporate support and expanded their performance opportunities. The company was awarded the 2012 SA City of Melbourne SME Award with law-firm, Fisher Jeffries, in the coveted Australian Business Arts Foundation Awards, as well as the 2010 SA Woodside Better Business Award.

Before joining the Adelaide Youth Orchestras Christopher was Arts Access SA's inaugural Communications and Audience Development Officer.

Early in his career he was a freelance arts journalist for several publications including The Australian Financial Review. He was a successful arts public relations and marketing consultant and assisted small Adelaide classical music organisations.

Christopher is a graduate from the University of Adelaide's Elder Conservatorium of Music with a 1st class Bachelor of Music, Honours degree in Musicology.

For more information on Adelaide Youth Orchestras visit To find out about Churchill Fellowships visit

Jarryd WallaceJarryd Wallace

GPS Analyst, Adelaide Football Club (Adelaide Crows)

Bachelor of Applied Science (Human Movement & Health Studies)  

Published 2012

Jarryd commenced a Human Movement degree in 2008 and in 2011 he undertook an Honours year with Professor Kevin Norton, with a thesis involving tracking evolutionary changes in World Cup soccer from 1966 to 2010.

“In September of that year, I was offered the role of GPS Analyst at the Adelaide Crows and have been employed there since the beginning of the current 2012 season. It has been a fast transition from student to employee, as I was still completing my Honours when I began at the Crows.”

Jarryd explained that his role involves tracking the movement and physical demands of training and games using GPS devices worn by the players.

“From this, we can measure the player’s work rate, as well as quantifying the different elements of movement during training (such as high speed running) to ensure that we are preparing the players as best as possible for maximum performance. We also use these to track and progress injured players back to full training.”

“My degree at UniSA has benefited my career as it allowed me to gain exposure and knowledge in the sports science field. Whilst nothing can compare to being 'on the job', my degree began my journey towards this. More than this however, it put me in the position to meet people who had achieved in this area, to speak to them about their experiences and to create professional contacts which are important in any industry.”

Jarryd mentioned three achievements he is particularly proud of in his career to date.

“First of all, simply completing my Human Movement degree. My second achievement would be receiving a First Class mark for my Honours project, thanks in no small part to the assistance of Professor Norton. My third achievement would be being offered my current role at the Crows. However, I hope there are many more highlights and achievements to come!”

Jarryd feels fortunate to be part of a worldwide industry and the huge range of possibilities offered.

“I think the beauty of this industry is that it allows so much room for growth and development, meaning the opportunities is endless. I would like to undertake further study and would one day like to complete a PhD within the sports science field, as I worked hard during my Honours year to make this possible.”

“Importantly, I have realised we can never stop learning, and I plan to further my knowledge within the sports science field as much as I possibly can. One of the best things about my job is that I am surrounded by colleagues who are the best in their field, and I have a chance to learn from them each and every day.

His advice to new graduates is to never underestimate the importance of networking and to never stop learning.

“I learnt very quickly not to burn any bridges, because you cannot possibly know when you may need to cross that bridge again. By simply introducing yourself to someone, you begin to create a connection which may be very important in the future.”

Lisa WangLisa Wang

President, Kingston Heavy Industrial Co., Ltd

Master of Manufacturing Management

Published 2012

Working on some of Taiwan's biggest infrastructure projects is all in a day's work for international alumna Lisa Wang.

Wang is President of Kingston Heavy Industrial Co, a civil and mechanical engineering company based in Kaohsiung City in southern Taiwan.

The company supplies prestressed concrete strand and wire and other construction materials for major infrastructure projects.

It currently has three major projects on the go, the most prominent of which is the new Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport Access Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) System.

Set to open in 2013, the Taoyuan International Airport MRT is a rapid transit system planned to connect Taiwan's busiest international airport with the city of Taipei.

The airport rail link will be 51km in length, with Kingston Heavy Industrial Co providing a portion of the prestressed concrete strand.

The second major project is the Wugu-Yangmei overpass on Taiwan's Freeway No 1, a 40km-long overpass designed to ease rush-hour traffic. Wang's company is providing more than two thirds of the PC strand for the bridge. The company is also supplying a significant proportion of PC Strand for a West Coast Highway bridge project.

Wang has worked with Kingston Heavy Industrial Co as General Manager for 25 years.

"My career has always been about the material and construction business for civil engineering projects," says Wang, who graduated with a Master of Manufacturing Management from the University of South Australia in 2001.

Having studied in Taiwan for the qualification, Wang says she decided to study for the Master degree because of her desire to improve her management skills and related knowledge in her career.

"It has helped me to run my company more efficiently," she says.

Having carved out a successful career in a traditionally male-dominated industry, Wang encourages other women to follow in her footsteps.

"This type of industry will be made even more wonderful with more women working in it, especially because of the professional knowledge and carefulness found in each female," she says.

"Business promotion and construction planning are my favourite parts of the job.

"I feel proud that the relationship between my clients and me changes from initial trepidation to trust.

"As a result, currently about 70 per cent of the mass civil construction projects in Taiwan are my clients."

Wang has maintained her association with the University of South Australia since completing her Masters degree. She was a founding member of the University of South Australia Alumni Association in Taiwan in 2004. She became vice president in 2004 for two years, before becoming president from 2006 to 2008. She remains a member of the association today.

"These experiences with the alumni chapter have widened my perspective and make me more internationalised," she says.

Pierre WassefPierre Wassef

Manager, Star Pharmacy Group's Firle Discount Pharmacy, South Australia

Bachelor of Pharmacy

Published 2013

Just three years after completing his Pharmacy degree Pierre Wassef has been recognised for his approach to community pharmacy by his employer, Star Pharmacy Group.

Pierre was awarded the 2012 Star Pharmacy Group's Australian Pharmacist of the Year Award for his consistent performance in managing the group's pharmacy in Firle. The group has 35 member pharmacies in South Australia, Queensland and New South Wales.

"I don't expect recognition, as I enjoy what I do and am very satisfied with the gratitude I get from our customers day in and day out, but it is always nice to be recognised for your hard work."

"I am the sole pharmacist at Firle Pharmacy with no dispensing technicians, so my role includes dispensing all medication and counselling as much as I can, like all other pharmacists. As I am also managing the store, I am in charge of ordering, staff rosters and pays. The business side of things really interests me so I am continually trying to find ways of improving the pharmacy."

Pierre completed his Bachelor of Pharmacy in 2009 at the University of South Australia.

"More important than the information we were taught at university was that we were taught how to learn, which is invaluable, as health professionals must continually keep studying to stay up to date", said Pierre, who then completed his intern year with National Pharmacies at Marden.

"I found this intern experience a great source of knowledge to me as a pharmacist, as there were plenty of staff; this allowed me time to concentrate on dispensing and counselling and improving my knowledge."

Pierre considers himself blessed to have won a management role with the Star Pharmacy group.

"I learnt a lot from my mentors in the company. It was a great change having to manage my time a lot better, but I feel I am better off for it now", said Pierre who would one day like to have his own pharmacy.

Gail WhitefordGail Whiteford

Pro-Vice Chancellor (Social Inclusion) Macquarie University

PhD Health Sciences (Occupational Therapy)

Published 2012

Gail Whiteford, Pro-Vice Chancellor at Macquarie University, is co-editor of Occupational Science: Society, Inclusion, Participation, with Professor Clare Hocking, of Auckland University of Technology.

After completing her Masters and PhD in Occupational Therapy at the University of South Australia in 1999, Gail pursued an academic research career, later gaining senior management and international experience.

Gail is well known in her home discipline of occupational therapy, with several edited books and numerous publications focused on occupational deprivation and its impacts.

She currently holds the position of Pro-Vice Chancellor (Social Inclusion) at Macquarie University, a portfolio which includes the Participation and Community Engagement Project, Equity and Diversity, and Indigenous Engagement (outreach, education and employment).

'Career highlights include working to make a difference in some very disadvantaged communities, including in South Africa and Vietnam. I recently worked on two European Commission social inclusion projects involving street children in Turkey and people with disabilities in Bulgaria,' says Gail, who also lists mentoring new graduates and working with PhD students among her career highlights.

In 2009 Gail received a Canadian award for meritorious service for her contribution to social cohesion.

Gail is a sought after speaker, having given keynote and invited presentations in Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, France, New Zealand, the UK and South Africa.

Her advice to new graduates is to be bold and seize opportunities.

'Give your very best in every role you serve in. And network, network, network!'

Occupational Science: Society, Inclusion, Participation, Gail E. Whiteford (Editor) and Claire Hocking (Editor)

Kym WilliamsKym Williams

Founder and co-owner, BRS and easyconsult Adelaide

Bachelor of Accounting

Published 2013

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Kym grew up on a sheep station in the mid north of South Australia, 400 km from Adelaide. After completing his accounting degree at the University of South Australia, Kym moved through accounting roles to senior positions in local government and the private sector. He played a significant role in turning around and growing the South Australian and Western Australian arms of the US engineering and environmental services firm Parsons Brinckerhoff.

Kym and his wife, Nicole, established the business advisory firm BRS in 2009, with a focus on clients in the infrastructure, government and resources sectors. BRS was featured in the top 25 fastest growing companies in Australia in 2011, and was the fastest growing company in South Australia in 2012. Winning the Small Business Award in the 2013 Telstra South Australian Business Awards is an acknowledgement of the strategic management of its consultants and their expertise in business relationships.

Based on their experience of working with BRS clients and fellow service providers Kym and Nicole launched easyconsult, an interactive online coaching platform for consultants with its sole focus to build great consultants by teaching them the skills to have more money, time, freedom and meaning in their work.

Kym's advice to budding entrepreneur studying at university is to design you life around your passions.

'Do the things you love and you will be successful, as long as you combine this with a growth mindset, being prepared to learn from mistakes and an understanding that persistence is vital to success. The other key point that I would make is that you need to know and leverage your strengths and build a team with others that have strengths in the other areas critical to success.'

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Professor Brenda Wilson

Brenda Wilson

Chief Executive of Cancer Council SA

September 2014

University of South Australia MBA alumna and Chief Executive of Cancer Council SA, Professor Brenda Wilson, has been appointed as the first female Lieutenant Governor of South Australia.

The role of Lieutenant Governor (LG) is a voluntary position where the incumbent acts as the Vice-Regal representative in the absence of the Governor. Professor Wilson says in addition to this role she will continue her important work at Cancer Council SA which she has headed up since 2003.

“The appointment highlights the priority the government places and will continue to place on cancer in this state and the research, prevention and support work undertaken by Cancer Council SA on behalf of our community,” Professor Wilson says.

“Apart from the constitutional requirements of the LG role, it provides an opportunity to increase the awareness of the work we do at Cancer Council SA and in the longer term I aim to work with other charities which seek to enhance the lives of the wider SA community”.

Professor Wilson originally trained as a nurse and specialised in cardiac and intensive care nursing. She later moved into executive positions in nursing and the health sector. She undertook a Bachelor of Business followed by an MBA at UniSA, which she completed in 1993. She currently serves on the UniSA MBA Advisory Board.

Professor Wilson was Executive Director of the Flinders Medical Centre from 1995 to 2003 before taking on the role of Chief Executive at Cancer Council SA. She is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a Fellow of the College of Nursing Australia and a Fellow of the Wharton School of Management. She was the winner of the year 2000 Telstra Business Women’s Award for the Corporate and Government sector.

Cancer Council SA is an independent non-government organisation with a broad remit covering cancer research and prevention as well as advocacy and support for people touched by cancer. 

Professor Wilson is proud of the achievements her organisation has made in the past decade.

“At Cancer Council SA we worked with key stakeholders to lead the development the first state-wide Cancer Control Plan for SA, with the third iteration of this currently being developed; we worked with SA health to jointly fund ($4.4m) state of the art cancer registries in SA; with SA Health we funded the first joint investment ($20m) in cancer research — ‘the Beat Cancer Project’ – which is in its third year of funding, and worked with Government to ban solarium use in SA and to implement alfresco dining areas being smoke free,” she says.

In the future, as the population ages the incidence and deaths from cancer will increase. 

“In my lifetime I would like to see:

  • Smoking rates down to at least 5%, halving death rates from tobacco related cancers.
  • A doubling of research investments for poor-survival cancers such as pancreatic, brain, lung, ovarian, head and neck, oesophageal, and liver.
  • Increased investment in all cancer research in terms of improved surgical techniques, radiotherapy and targeted drug therapies.
  • An increased investment in mass media campaigns, which would see a reduction of in deaths from melanoma and skin cancer.
  • A reduction in the risk of cancers associated with obesity, poor diet, inactivity and excessive alcohol consumption by creating an environment where a healthy choice is the easy choice.
  • An increase in the numbers of Australians who screen for bowel, cervical and breast cancers, with improved screening technologies for other cancers, enabling cancers to be detected and treated earlier with better outcomes.
  • A reduction in the incidence and mortality of cervical, anal and other HPV-related cancers by increasing the uptake in boys and girls of the human papilloma virus vaccine.
  • A reduction in deaths related to liver cancers through increased hepatitis vaccination rates and improved monitoring and support of people at high risk."

University of South Australia researchers in the Sansom Institute for Health Research are undertaking a diverse range of cancer research projects, some with the assistance of Cancer Council SA funding. The Centre for Cancer Biology, established in partnership with SA Pathology and now embarking on a significant cooperative partnership with the University of South Australia, is the largest concentration of fundamental cancer research in the state. 

Prof Wei XiangProf Wei Xiang

Associate Professor (Computer Systems Engineering)
University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba

PhD Telecommunications Engineering,
Institute for Telecommunications Research

September 2014

A childhood passion for reading science fiction planted the seeds of a future career in computer systems engineering for Chinese-born researcher Professor Wei Xiang.

Thanks to an International Postgraduate scholarship from the University of South Australia, Prof Xiang began a journey that led him to working with 3D video technology, opening up a career in developing solutions for the delivery of rural and remote health care. 

Prof Xiang, who grew up in China’s porcelain capital, Jingdezhen City, gained a Bachelor and Masters of Electrical Engineering from the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China in Chengdu. 

He came to Adelaide in 2000 to commence his PhD in telecommunications engineering, and recalls his first day at Mawson Lakes campus and the meeting with Prof Bill Crowley, who was his PhD co-supervisor. 

“It was my first trip outside China. I remember very clearly the conversation I had with Bill. Later on I told him there were several things he was telling me that I didn’t understand, but I just kept on going,” says Prof Xiang. 

“Receiving the scholarship was a life changing opportunity for me. I learned about not only the methodology, but the research culture and the language of research,” says Prof Xiang, who still maintains contact with his supervisors at Mawson Lakes. 

Prof Xiang’s PhD work on coding for image transmission and video communications landed him his first role as Associate Lecturer in Computer Systems at the Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences at the University of Southern Queensland (USQ). 

Prof Xiang began looking applications for the video technology he was developing and the health sector offered greater research funding opportunities. 

Stakeholder feedback showed that people living in rural and remote areas don’t have access to the same quality of health care as their city counterparts. 

“It occurred to me that telecommunications can be used to deliver a much better health service over a distance,” says Prof Wei.

One of his key projects is glasses-free 3D video telemedicine technology which has the potential to vastly improve tele-health consultation between doctors and patients in remote areas. A prestigious Smart Futures Fellowship project has been awarded to him by the Queensland Government to research this innovative technology. 

“We are proposing the world’s first glasses-free 3D telemedicine system which offers a number of advantages,” says Prof Xiang, who has been working with Blue Care, one of the largest residential health care organisations in the southern hemisphere. 

For example, a patient with a wound post-surgery may have to travel many kilometres for weekly inspections to check if their wound is healing properly in what may only be a 2-3 minute consultation. With 3D video technology the patient can remain at home with a normal PC fitted with a pair of web cams and connects to the clinic via a wireline or wireless broadband connection. The inherent depth perception of the 3D band enables the doctor to see and measure the depth of the wound.

“Even though the patient is sitting at home hundreds of kilometres away the 3D technology makes it feel like the patient is sitting right there in front of you,” says Prof Xiang.

All you need is a fast internet connection, which will be delivered by the NBN, or through wireless networks in regions without an optical fibre network.

“The innovation of our research is also about transmitting large amounts of 3D signals at minimum bandwidth requirement. So we are trying to compress the signals significantly to make the 3D video signal more resilient to transmission errors,” Prof Xiang says.

Glasses-free 3D video technology potentially has a whole range of applications, including in distance education, the mining industry, and 3D gaming. 

Prof Wei Xiang has been a visiting scholar at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and at the University of Mississippi in the USA. He was a Visiting Associate Professor at the University of Hong Kong on an Australian Government Endeavour Research Fellowship project.