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Board of Advice

Member Biographies


Martin Blake

Martin Blake
NSW Chairman, KPMG

Martin is the Chairman for KPMG in NSW and is the face of KPMG in NSW across the public and private sectors. Martin is also the Australian Leader for the Insurance Sector and the Global Leader for Fintechin Insurance. From 2005 –2011 Martin was the Head of Business Development for the Advisory Division and the Head of the Financial Services Advisory practice in Australia. Martin has played a key role in building KPMG’s Advisory business which now represents over 50% of the firm’s business in Australia. Martin has over fifteen years’ experience in managing large transformation programs and developing business strategies for insurance companies & wealth managers in Australia and Asia. His areas of expertise include business & growth strategies, merger integration & separation, target operating model development, process and organisation design to support large scale transformation programs, shared services and cost reduction.


Jo Burston

Jo Burston
CEO and Founder of Rare Birds

Jo Burston is the founder and CEO of Job Capital and entrepreneurial movement Inspiring Rare Birds, which works to promote opportunities for women in entrepreneurship and has a global vision to inspire one million women entrepreneurs to join its community by 2020.

Rare Birds recently published #IFSHECANICAN – a book about Australia’s next generation of women entrepreneurs – and Australia’s 50 Influential Women Entrepreneurs, which features honest stories about the journeys of some of the country’s most inspiring women entrepreneurs.

Jo has been recognised as one of Australia’s top 50 entrepreneurs for the past five years, is a regional Oceania ambassador for the UN - recognised Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, on the advisory board for the University of Sydney Business School and University of Sydney Innovation and Entrepreneur Advisory Group, Entrepreneurs Organisation (EO) and a global ambassador for innovative accounting software Xero.

Jo is an active mentor for fast growth entrepreneurs and is passionate about encouraging young Australians to endeavour to find out exactly who it is that they want to become, and create their own jobs to achieve this.

Jo has had numerous speaking involvements with Google, Dropbox, Xero, EY, National Achievers Congress, Women's Agenda/General Assembly and Entrepreneurs Organisation (EO) – to name a few. Her philanthropic interests include R U OK?, Can Too, Project Futures, and School of Life Foundation.


Allen Lew

Allen Lew
CEO, Optus

Mr Lew, 60, was appointed CEO Consumer Australia and CEO Optus on 1 October 2014.

Prior to that, Mr Lew was CEO Group Digital Life where he has transformed the Group into a leading player in the digital ecosystem. He was also Country Chief Officer Singapore, acting as the principal liaison with local and regulatory bodies.

He began his career with the Singtel Group in November 1980 and has served in various senior management positions both in Singapore and overseas. His first overseas posting was to Advanced Info Service Public Company Ltd (AIS), Singtel’s regional mobile associate. He was the Chief Operating Officer of AIS for three years before his posting to Optus in late 2001, initially as the Managing Director of Optus Mobile and later as Managing Director of Optus Consumer Business. He returned to Singapore as CEO Singapore in 2006 and held that position until March 2012.

Mr Lew is the Chairman of the AIS Executive Committee and a Board member of the Energy Market Authority in Singapore.

He holds a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from the University of Western Australia under a Colombo Plan Scholarship and a Master of Science (Management) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US.


Jan Pacas

Jan Pacas
CEO & MD Hilti Australia, Co-founder Mad Paws

The global expertise and leadership of Mr Jan Pacas, Managing Director of Hilti Australia, has played an integral role the on-going success of the company locally, since his appointment in 2009. When appointed he was the youngest Country Head for the Hilti Group globally. Hilti is a global premium Brand manufacturing and marketing Power tools and accessories. The company employs around 22.000 people worldwide and 350 in Australia.

Prior to his arrival in Australia Mr Pacas was Chief Marketing Officer Global Business Unit Power Tools - 1,200 million CHF in revenue globally. This position was based at Hilti’s headquarters in Switzerland. Mr Pacas built international experience working on projects in the United States, Europe, Hong Kong and China.

With a passion for new business models and digital innovation Mr Pacas has co-founded Mad Paws in 2014 - Australia’s largest and fastest growing internet market place for pet services described as the “airbnb for pets”.

Mr Pacas holds and Executive MBA from the University of Sydney, a Msc in Economics from the University of Economics and is also an alumni of Stanford GSB where he is a graduate of the Stanford SEP program. Mr Pacas is fluent in 4 languages .


Tim Soutphommasane

Tim Soutphommasane
Race Discrimination Commissioner, Australian Human Rights Commission

Dr Tim Soutphommasane is Race Discrimination Commissioner and commenced his five-year appointment on 20 August 2013. Prior to joining the Australian Human Rights Commission, he was a political philosopher and held posts at The University of Sydney and Monash University. His thinking on multiculturalism, national identity and patriotism has been influential in shaping debates in Australia and Britain.

Dr Soutphommasane is the author of four books, I’m not racist but … (2015), The Virtuous Citizen (2012), Don't Go Back To Where You Came From (2012), and Reclaiming Patriotism (2009). He was co-editor (with Nick Dyrenfurth) of All That's Left (2010). He has been an opinion columnist with The Age and The Weekend Australian newspapers, and in 2013 presented the documentary series “Mongrel Nation” on ABC Radio National.

A first-generation Australian, Dr Soutphommasane was raised in southwest Sydney. He completed a Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Philosophy (with distinction) at the University of Oxford, and is a first-class honours graduate of The University of Sydney.

For those interested in the correct pronunciation of Dr Soutphommasane’s surname, the phonetic spelling of it is Soot-pom-ma-sarn.


Arlene Tansey

Arlene Tansey
Chairman, Non-Executive Director

Chairman of Urbanise.com Ltd (ASX: UBN) and Future Fibre Technologies Limited (ASX: FFT), a Director of Adelaide Brighton Limited, Primary Health Care, Infrastructure NSW and Lend Lease Investment. Arlene is also a member of the advisory board of Serco Asia Pacific.

Before becoming a non-executive Director, Arlene worked in commercial and Investment banking in Australia and in investment banking and law in the United States. She holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Southern California Law Centre and an MBA from New York University. She is a member of Chief Executive Women and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Arlene is originally from New York and has lived and worked in the United States, South America, and Europe. She has lived in Australia for the past twenty two years and is an Australian citizen. She is married with two daughters.


Christine Yates

Christine Yates
Executive General Manager, NAB Private

Christine began her career as a Chartered Accountant and moved into banking in 1990. She has worked in the debt markets of Institutional and Wholesale Banking for more than 20 years, covering the disciplines of credit, project finance, acquisition finance, relationship management, syndicated loans and debt capital markets.

After spending much of her career in Citigroup’s Syndicated Loans and Fixed Income business, Christine headed Citigroup’s Infrastructure and Utilities client segment, where she leveraged her debt markets product knowledge to build the leading infrastructure and utility franchise in Australia. In 2006 Christine joined ANZ as an Executive Director in the Institutional Bank. She joined NAB in 2010 and led the Debt Markets Origination business, managing the Group’s bond and syndicated loan origination with corporates and retail note origination with corporates and financial institutions. In 2012 Christine became the Executive General Manager of Financial Institutions Group and International, managing NAB’s business with banks, insurance companies, funds and other non-bank financial institutions, as well as being responsible for NAB’s New York and London Branches.

In 2014 Christine was appointed Executive General Manager of NAB Private Wealth. NAB Private Wealth is focused on the holistic banking and wealth needs of private clients, with 15 offices across Australia, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore.

Christine holds a Bachelor of Economics from Sydney University and a Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance and Investment. She is a member of the Australian Institute of Chartered Accountants, a Senior Fellow of FINSIA (Financial Services Institute of Australasia), an Australian Financial Markets Association (AFMA) Accredited Dealer, a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD), a Non-Executive Director of the Advice and Licences Board and a Director on the JBWere Board.

Passionate about diversity, Christine led the growth of the Women in Banking and Finance Industry organisation, which supports women in their professional careers with networking and mentoring opportunities.

Christine was born in Australia, is married with three daughters, aged 22, 20 and 16 and is based in Sydney.


Suzanne Young

Suzanne Young
EGM Business Partnering, IAG

Prior to joining IAG in March 2016, Suzanne held senior executive and non-executive director roles across a range of industries and regulated sectors. She has broad leadership and operational experience spanning financial services, aviation, technology, not-for-profit/sport and professional services across Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Europe and the US. She has successfully led customer focused, strategic change initiatives in large organisations, including Leighton Holdings, The Commonwealth Bank, Qantas and Unisys, utilising technology and grass roots engagement of diverse teams to deliver sustainable growth and improvements to the bottom-line.

In 2009 and 2010, Suzanne was awarded Industry Thought Leader by the Shared Services and Outsourcing Network for Asia Pacific and in 2015 she was named as one of AFR/Westpac’s 100 Women of Influence. Suzanne is an active champion of diversity and indigenous reconciliation.

Suzanne currently serves on the St Joseph's College Foundation Board as the chair of the Indigenous Fund. Previously she was an employer appointed Director of the Commonwealth Bank Group Superannuation Fund and chaired the Risk and Audit Committee. She has also served on the boards of Surf Life Saving Australia, Supply Nation and the Qantas Superannuation Fund. At the NRL as COO, she supported the board sub-committees - Risk, Investment and Audit; People, Workplace Culture and Remuneration and Nominations.

Suzanne grew up on a farm outside Ungarie in the New South Wales Riverina and attended boarding school in Albury before moving to Sydney to study at university. After university, she discovered her passion for surf lifesaving and has held various voluntary surf lifesaving leadership positions. She is a long service member of surf lifesaving and was the Sydney Branch, New South Wales and Australian Surf Life Saver of the Year in 1995/96.

Suzanne has a Bachelor of Economics and a Masters of Taxation from The University of Sydney, a Masters of Accounting from Macquarie University, is a CPA and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She is the mother of 3 teenage boys.


Karina Kwan

Karina Kwan
Group Support Services Finance, Financial Services,
Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Karina Kwan has worked in the financial industry for over 25 years. 

In April 2016, she commenced at the Commonwealth Bank as the General Manager, Group Support Services Finance.  In this role, she provides CFO strategic financial advice and reporting to the support divisions of CBA, which comprise 20% of the total cost base of the bank.  These departments include Office of the CEO, Financial Services, Risk Management, Corporate Affairs & Legal, Human Resources,  Marketing & Strategy.

Prior to this she spent 18 years with Citi, of which the last 3 years as the Chief Financial Officer for Australia and New Zealand.   Her CFO remit covered Financial Control, Product Control, Tax, Corporate Treasury,  Financial Planning & Analysis.  Previous to the CFO role, Karina was the Financial Controller for 2 years and Corporate Treasurer for 13 years.  Throughout these senior roles, she played an active role in governance committees including the creation and chairing the AU/NZ new product approval committee, legal entity management committee, asset and liability committee, financial updates to the Citi Australia Board,  establishment of the risk governance framework, engagement with the Australian bank regulator and Tax Office, representation at industry committees.

Prior to Citi she worked at NatWest Markets Australia Bank and Deloittes.

Karina holds a Bachelor in Economics from Sydney University and is a Fellow Certified Practising Accountant.  She is a keen advocate of gender diversity issues and represented Citi at the industry-wide Women in Banking & Finance association for 3 years up to Dec 2012. Karina is married with 1 teenage son and enjoys cooking, gardening and mentoring young motivated people.


Andrew Petersen

Andrew Petersen
CEO, Sustainable Business Australia

In March 2011, Andrew Petersen was appointed as Chief Executive Officer of Sustainable Business Australia (SBA). He has an enviable reputation as legal advisor on matters relating to environmental risk, law and policy, including climate change, and as a thought leader and advisor on the business of sustainability.

As a qualified and practising lawyer in Australia, he was the Partner of the Environmental and Development Group of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Legal from 1999 to 2006, and then the Legal and Advisory Lead of PwC Australia's Sustainability and Climate Change team from 2007 to 2010, when he specialised in advising clients on the wide-ranging aspects of emissions trading, environmental compliance frameworks, environmental markets, renewable energy project development and corporate social responsibility stakeholder engagement.

Andrew's carbon credentials were developed as an accredited auditor under the NSW Government's Greenhouse Gas Abatement Scheme (2003-2005), a verifier under the Federal Government's Greenhouse Friendly Scheme (2003- 2006), a representative on the Business Council of Australia's Greenhouse Gas Committee (2002, 2003) and in 2005 as an industry delegate to the Australian Government's representation at the United Nations Conference of Climate Change (UNCCC).

Andrew Petersen is well-known to Australian business for his commentary through print and broadcast media on the business implications of climate change. He has been published on the opinion pages of The Australian Financial Review, and has produced thought leadership articles for leading Australian and international corporate and carbon finance publications, including Keeping Good Companies, Environmental Finance, Carbon Finance and the EU publication, Environmental Risk.

Andrew studied Law and Arts majoring in Political Economics at the University of Sydney and he is a qualified solicitor of the Supreme Court of NSW, solicitor of the High Court of Australia, Affiliated Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia and former Director/Company Secretary of Environment Business Australia.