Keynote speakers

This year's line up

Dr. Charlie Day

CEO of The Office of Innovation and Science Australia

Dr Day is the CEO of Innovation and Science Australia (ISA). He brings to the role significant expertise in innovation, business development, technology commercialisation, venture capital and start-up creation. As CEO, Dr Day leads the Office of Innovation and Science Australia and supports the Innovation and Science Australia (ISA) board’s implementation of long-term initiatives to boost Australia’s innovation, science and research system.

ISA provides strategic, whole-of-government advice on all science, research and innovation matters. In January 2018 ISA released the Australia 2030: Prosperity through Innovation report, which sets out a path for Australia to become a leading innovation nation by 2030.

Immediately prior to taking up his role with ISA, Dr Day was the Program Director for the Carlton Connect Initiative, an ambitious project to create Australia's premier STEM innovation precinct anchored by the University of Melbourne.

Dr. Alan Finkel

Australia's Chief Scientist

Dr Finkel commenced as Australia’s Chief Scientist on 25 January 2016. He is Australia’s eighth Chief Scientist. Prior to becoming Chief Scientist, he was the eighth Chancellor of Monash University and the eighth President of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE).

Since commencing as Chief Scientist, Dr Finkel has led a number of national reviews, delivering the 2016 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap, the 2017 Review into the National Electricity Market (“Finkel Review”) and the 2018 STEM Industry Partnership Forum report. He serves as the Deputy Chair of Innovation and Science Australia.

Dr Finkel has an extensive science background as an entrepreneur, engineer, neuroscientist and educator. He was awarded his PhD in electrical engineering from Monash University and worked as a postdoctoral research fellow in neuroscience at the Australian National University.

In 1983 he founded Axon Instruments, a California-based, ASX-listed company that made precision scientific instruments. After Axon was sold in 2004, Dr Finkel became a director of the acquiring company.

In 2006, he focused his career in Australia and undertook a wide range of activities including co-founding Cosmos Magazine. During his time at ATSE, he led the development and implementation of the STELR program for secondary school science.

Professor Kourosh Kayvani

Managing Director - Design, Innovation & Eminence at Aurecon

With a career spanning over 25 years, Kourosh has played key roles in the design and delivery of many innovative, complex and award winning projects across the globe. His project portfolio includes Wembley Stadium in London, Sydney Olympics Hockey Stadium in Sydney, Melbourne Star Observation Wheel, and Liberty Place and 5 Martin Place in Sydney, to name a just few.

Kourosh is an Honorary Professor at the University of Sydney, a Visiting Professorial Fellow at UNSW and a Director of Australian Steel Institute. He is the founding Head of Aurecon Design Academy.

Kourosh is the Laureate of the IABSE Prize awarded by the International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering for his contribution to design of long span structures world-wide. He was also named one of the Top 100 most influential engineers by Engineers Australia in 2009 and won the 2016 John Connell Gold Medal Award from Engineers Australia – Structural College Awards. In October 2017 Kourosh was appointed a fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE), a significant and prestigious achievement.

Anna Leibel

Executive Manager, Technology at UniSuper

Anna is an experienced executive and corporate adviser, renowned for her ability to blend strategy development and transformational change across technology, business practices and growth culture. Anna’s cross-industry career spans more than two decades in transformation programs, management consulting and technology start-ups.

Anna joined UniSuper in 2017 and is responsible for developing and delivering the technology strategy to achieve UniSuper’s strategic goals. The technology strategy prioritises the customer experience, modernising the way that we bring value to our customers, which includes introducing new technologies, the time that it takes for us to deliver new products and services and also keeping information secure and safe.

Anna has previously held senior consulting and general management roles with PwC, Telstra and NAB, and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Anna has also participated in two senior executive programs at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT): Succeeding in a Digital Economy, and Driving Strategic Innovation.

Dr. Anna Wright

CEO and Founder of BindiMaps

Launched in January 2017, BindiMaps is an award-winning smart cities technology startup, bringing accessibility to people and places currently out of bounds for people who are vision impaired. By providing a navigation tool that works where traditional GPS does not - inside major public precincts such as university campuses, airports, shopping malls and office buildings. .

Anna developed the idea for BindiMaps after undergoing years of major surgery to save her own eye-sight - a daunting experience that led her to ask the question "how can we make the world more accessible for people with vision impairment?". Prior to launching BindiMaps, Anna had helped many other businesses move from startup through to IPO, as a consultant specialising in Business Development and Business Analysis. She holds a PhD and has built an academic career as a Senior Lecturer at the University of Technology Sydney, researching and teaching in the areas of Innovation and Valuation. .

Today, her startup has grown to a team of four full-time employees, opened the doors to their own office in Surry Hills, closed a $1M seed financing round, and is currently competing as a finalist in Tech23.

Less than two years since launching BindiMaps, Anna is now is a recognised leader in the startup ecosystem, lighting a path for non-technical founders to start and build tech companies that can change the world. It is her passion for impact that has seen Anna nominated for 2019 Australian of the Year, in recognition of her leadership and commitment to creating a more inclusive world through BindiMaps.