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Re-imagining research and education for projects

The Best is Yet to Come - Annual Alumni Dinner 2019
An inspiring group of project leaders gathered to reconnect and acknowledge their peers who recently completed the Executive Leadership in Major Projects program.

Joining us at the 2019 Annual Alumni Dinner were our impressive group of project leaders from our fifth cohort who recently completed the Executive Leadership in Major Projects program (ELMP) program, alongside our new cohort, and supportive alumni and sponsor organisations.

We were very excited to share news of the imminent launch of the John Grill Institute of Project. The new entity aspires to be the leading repository of university-based expertise in the domain of projects in Australia and, over time, in the world. The institute will incorporate major aspects of the existing John Grill Centre and drawing on the University’s long-standing Project Management Program, currently based in the Faculty of Engineering.

Education offerings will range from PhDs to continuing education programs. Research will include comprehensive programs devoted to creating new scholarly and applied knowledge.

John Grill AO (centre) and Co-Directors, John Grill Institute of Projects, Dr Andrew Pratley (left) and Professor John Buchanan (right)

John Grill AO (centre) and Co-Directors, of the newly announced John Grill Institute of Projects, Dr Andrew Pratley (left) and Professor John Buchanan (right)

Co-Directors of the new Institute, Professor John Buchanan and Dr Andrew Pratley, shared news of the research and engagement opportunities this new entity presents, highlighting the need for a focus on project initiation.

Panel left to right: Greg Robinson, Tasha Burrell, John Pillay, Fiona Mahony.  

During the evening, guests engaged in a conversation with us on how together we can make a fundamental contribution to the world of projects through the soon-to-be-launched, John Grill Institute of Projects.

Program alumni including Tasha Burrell, Executive General Manager, Projects, Landcom; Fiona Mahony, Customer Experience and Business Design Head, Telstra; John Pillay, Global Digital Transformation Director, Worley and Greg Robinson Greg Robinson, Director Campus Infrastructure Services, The University of Sydney as moderator, joined a panel to expand discussion of the opportunities and the most pressing issues for organisations.

The most important thing the program gave me, was it fired up my love of learning again... I now allow time to reflect on my experiences, to notice reactions or emotions - mine and others - I’m reading more , I’m actively seeking perspectives of others and I’m generally more curious.
Anna Zantuck, Head of Change Deployment,Technology and Operations Division, NAB
Anna Zantuck, Head of Change Deployment,Technology and Operations Division at NAB, speaks on behalf of cohort 5.

Anna Zantuck, Head of Change Deployment,Technology and Operations Division at NAB, speaks on behalf of cohort 5.

National Australia Bank's, Head of Change Deployment, Technology and Operations Division, Anna Zantuck, spoke on behalf of cohort five, thanking John Grill, Suresh Cuganesan and Maurizio Floris for their support on the program, the amazing facilitators and presenters who inspired and challenged and to the connective tissue before sessions, the coaches, who continue the journey with the cohort.

Cohort five represents a range of projects reflective of the current project landscape in Australia including banking and finance, government, energy & resources, infrastructure and tertiary education.

Celebrating Cohort five’s completion

  • David Birch, ANZ
  • Juliette Churchill, University of Sydney
  • Werner Dorfling, Worley
  • Jim Hill, Transport for NSW
  • Elliot Howse, Laing O’Rourke
  • Adam Monson, Cubic
  • Kate Ng, Transport for NSW
  • Peter Prodromou, Cubic
  • Kelly Read, Worley
  • Joe Romeo, University of Sydney
  • Emma Skulander, TSA Management
  • Natalie Smith, ANZ
  • Matthew Vizard, Health Infrastructure
  • Amanda Weir, BHP
  • Ehab Zabaneh, Woodside Energy
  • Anna Zantuck, National Australia Bank

Executive Leadership in Major Projects program

The ELMP program runs across a 12-month period comprised of 4 weeks coursework split across three residential modules/blocks, an in-organisation project, and executive coaching. Participants align their learnings with an action plan supported by their direct supervisor, an in-organisation appointed mentor and a John Grill Centre executive coach.

The Executive Leadership in Major Projects program launched with its inaugural cohort commencing in August 2014. Participants included business leaders working on major Australian and international projects across Asia, Middle East, US and Australia, including Australian infrastructure, banking and finance, technology and resources projects.


Looking around the room tonight it gives me a great sense of hope that we have a connected, organisationally agnostic learning community that will steer us in the right direction and focus on what matters.
Anna Zantuck, National Australia Bank