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Connecting our global community

Celebrating the impact of our management graduates, locally and around the world

Written by Melissa Clarke

Vanessa Suen

Vanessa Suen

Project Management Specialist (Youth and Innovation), UNAOC
Current location: New York, US
Nationality: Australian
Languages spoken: English, Cantonese and Bislama
Graduation Year: 2012

Leading from the trenches

Vanessa Suen is working with the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) to encourage intercultural dialogue and interfaith harmony. Through programs such as the Youth Solidarity Fund, UNAOC provides seed funding and support to youth-led organisations and projects that are working towards a more peaceful and socially inclusive world. As Project Management Specialist (Youth and Innovation), Vanessa is collaborating with grassroots organisations to pioneer solutions for global challenges.

While there’s a perception that innovation is a new concept to a giant bureaucracy like the UN, Vanessa has not found that to be the case. She also believes that her background in private-sector consulting, which taught her to be aware of the context in which you are operating, is proving very beneficial in navigating diverse cultural and geographical situations.

“I think leaders today have to be authentic,” she says. “They need to be in the trenches and believe in what they do, to convince other people of their mission. We want to understand and trust their motivations, and know they are empathetic to the cause.”

Rucha Sarma

Rucha Sarma

Omnichannel Strategy, Castello/Specialty Cheese, Aria Foods UK (F15 graduate)
Current location: Aarhus, Denmark
Nationality: New Zealander
Languages spoken: English, Hindi and Spanish
Graduation year: 2014

From paddock to plate: The future of the dairy industry

Rucha Sarma’s role with Arla Foods has taken her across three diverse markets, working in Denmark, Nigeria and the UK on digital innovation projects for the company’s specialty cheese brand, Castello. When she describes the work, her passion for the company’s mission is clear.

“Working for a farmer-owned cooperative really gives me a sense of purpose. I love that at the end of the day, you’re helping a hard-working farmer get a fair share,” she says.

But her passion also extends to the reinvention of what it means to bring health and nutrition to the world. While most people don’t typically associate dairy products with hot new digital trends, Rucha points out that whether it’s the internet of things, e-commerce or smart packaging, “all of these concepts are extremely important to the industry if we want to stay relevant and appealing.”

And in her opinion, the health foods sector is here to stay, with consumers’ increasing awareness of health and sustainability issues translating into their food purchases.

“Healthy, ‘free from’, transparently sourced, locally produced food is the way forward,” she says.

Martin Reyre

Martin Reyre

Global Project Manager, Public Affairs Consumer Healthcare – Europe, Africa Eurasia and the Middle East, Sanofi Consumer Healthcare
Current location: Brussels, Belgium
Nationality: French
Languages spoken: English, French, Spanish and Portuguese
Graduation year: 2016

The global health revolution

As Global Project Manager in Public Affairs with a focus on Consumer Healthcare, Martin Reyre is helping Sanofi to empower consumers to live healthier lives and better manage their wellbeing through the development and implementation of Sanofi’s strategy, engagement and activation of external stakeholders.

Martin says being able to manage a project from scratch at global, regional and local levels in such a big corporation has been a fantastic opportunity. At the same time, he says, the consumer healthcare industry is on the brink of being disrupted, with mergers and acquisitions booming, global and industry trends leading to a significant shift in the role of healthcare professionals and new technology impacting traditional business models every day.

“It’s really exciting to be part of the ongoing revolution and think about how we can solve these great challenges,” Martin says.

“More and more companies also understand that they have to accept the challenge of responding to growing social and environmental pressures. In my opinion, ‘greenwashing’ CSR campaigns will not suffice in the future. In an increasingly open, digital world, authenticity, an agile mindset and a high level of cultural intelligence are more crucial than ever.”

Lorenn Ruster

Lorenn Ruster

Senior Manager, PwC’s Indigenous Consulting
Current location: Sydney, Australia
Nationality: Australian
Languages spoken: English and French
Graduation year: 2011

Driving social change across borders

Lorenn was part of the founding team that co-created PwC’s Indigenous Consulting (PIC) in 2013. Today, the team has grown to around 50 strong, working across seven locations. As Senior Manager, Lorenn assists in providing a range of consulting services to help realise the potential of Indigenous policies, programs, projects, organisations and businesses.

PIC is a unique organisation, and Lorenn says she’s spurred on by working towards positive, real and lasting change. This passion has extended to a multitude of projects, in and outside her traditional role.

In 2014, she took time out to pursue her interests in technology for social change by joining the Singularity University Global Solutions Program for 10 weeks in NASA Ames, Silicon Valley. She has worked in emerging markets with Pollinate Energy as part of its Professionals Program in India, and most recently, took a one-year leave of absence to become a Global Fellow with impact-investor Acumen, where she set up a marketing function in a growing solar energy social enterprise in Uganda.

“I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by really interesting and diverse people who each have their own passions,” says Lorenn. “Continuing to engage with these communities online and in person keeps me thinking outside the square and engaged in emerging trends.”

Iacopo Rovere

Iacopo Rovere

CEO, foodpanda
Current location: the Philippines
Nationality: Italian
Languages spoken: English, Italian and Spanish
Graduation year: 2014

Leading by example in emerging markets

Foodpanda – a global online takeaway food ordering marketplace – is transforming the dining experience in emerging markets in the same way UberEats, Deliveroo or Foodora have done closer to home.

Iacopo Rovere, CEO of foodpanda Philippines, started with the company soon after it was launched and has been part of the journey that’s seen the international organisation go from zero to IPO in four years. And he says it’s still just the beginning of the journey.

“It’s been quite the ride, and we’re only just tapping into the market’s potential,” Iacopo says.

So how does a company moving this fast stay manage to stay relevant, without getting left behind itself? Iacopo says his ultimate focus remains on the customer, and innovating as much as possible to improve the customer experience. This, along with balance, and his four key leadership ingredients – motivation, passion, transparency and commitment.

“As a leader you should be the most dedicated to your cause, and not be afraid to step down or do something ‘below your rank’,” says Iacopo. “Lead by example: grow your team by showing them you’ll do anything to succeed, no matter the position.”

Michel Pirog

Michael Pirog

Head of Business Development AU/NZ, Sport Heroes Group
Current location: Australia
Nationality: Polish and French
Languages spoken: English, French, Polish and Spanish
Graduation year: 2014

A connected community – digitised health and fitness

Michel Pirog is working with Sports Heroes Group to create unique sporting communities and build innovative digital platforms for some of the biggest brands in the world through a specialised marketing platform.

He says about 75 percent of runners use a connected device to track their runs. “Looking at the explosion of connected fitness, we thought why not ‘gamify’ the entire experience and reward people for being active.”

“For example, with Running Heroes we’ve built a ‘frequent flyer’ program, where the more you run, the more points you get – redeemable for exclusive prizes and offers – motivating people to stay healthy and push their limits.”

Sport has always played an important role in Michel’s life, and he acknowledges that combining his passion for sport with a professional background in management and marketing is a great luxury.

While he admits that the start-up life often means long working hours, lower salary and somewhat chaotic day-to-day work – he believes everyone has it in them to be entrepreneurial, and embracing the start-up culture is a unique opportunity to have broader responsibilities, get hands-on experience and work with inspiring people.

Find out more

CEMS – The Global Alliance in Management Education
CEMS Annual Events and Graduation, Sydney, November 2017
Master of Management at the University of Sydney