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For over 20 years, Gail Ker OAM's vast industry experience and arguably unrivalled expertise in the Australian multicultural, humanitarian and community sectors has seen her change countless lives for the better. 

A national award-winning visionary, Gail has grown Access into one of Australia’s leaders in settlement, employment, training, youth-support, housing and social enterprise services.

Gail is a recognised thought-leader in needs-based community planning, business modelling, social cohesion, strategic partnerships, employment pathways and strategic direction.

Umesh Chandra

CEO, Chantex

Umesh Chandra is highly respected nationally and internationally. He is a founder member and the current president of Queensland Multicultural Council, and serves on the police ethnic advisory group, Lord Mayors Multicultural round table etc. He has been the founder president of GOPIO Qld, and is a life member of GOPIO International. He has won many community service awards including Bharat Gaurav award in 2011. Umesh Chandra is the owner of Brisbane Indian Times and Australian Indian Radio.


Sam Graham

CEO, Australian Football League NSW/ACT

Gail Ker OAM

CEO, Access Community Services Ltd

Sam Graham is the current CEO of AFL NSW/ACT.

Sam joined the AFL in September 2005 as Strategic Planner. In June 2011 he was appointed Manager of Strategy, and in September 2011 was appointed Manager of Club Services. From there, Sam was appointed to General Manager, Strategy & Club Services in May 2013.

Sam moved to Sydney in 2015 when he was appointed CEO of AFL NSW/ACT, overseeing the growth of AFL in the two regions.

Sam is also a Director at AFL led charity, Ladder.


Dan Gregory

CEO, The Impossible Institute

Dan Gregory is a speaker, author and mentor specialising in Leadership, Strategy and Influence. He is the co-founder of The Impossible Institute, the team behind the most successful new product launch in Australian history and is a regular on ABC TV's Gruen series and Sunrise on the 7 Network and writes for Success and The CEO Magazine in the USA.

Virginia Greville

Chief Executive Officer, Trade & Investment Queensland

Virginia Greville joined TIQ in January 2017 and was previously Australia’s Ambassador to Spain, Andorra and Equatorial Guinea. She has also been Australia’s Ambassador to Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela.

Ms Greville has held senior domestic positions in government including Director of the NSW State Office of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

She has significant experience in supporting, dealing and negotiating with a range of governments, international markets and industries.

Doug Ferguson

Chairman, Asia Society

As Partner-in-charge of KPMG's Asia & International Markets Group, I am responsible for leading our China, Japan, India, Korea and South East Asia business practices. These teams, comprising Australian and Asian professional staff, provide a range of advisory, tax and audit services to Asian inbound investors and Australian clients operating in Asia.
As a Deals Advisory Partner, my primary focus is advising Asian and Australian clients on Asian inbound investments and Australian outbound investments to Asia.
Prior to commencing this role, I was based in Beijing and Hong Kong for 10+ years with KPMG China. My primary roles were providing financial due diligence advice to private equity and multinational clients investing into China. I was also heavily involved in the liquidation of Lehman Brothers Asian real estate assets between Sep 2008 and Dec 2011.

Elena Kirillova

 State Director, NSW/ACT,

Australian Trade and Investment Commission, (Austrade)

Elena Kirillova is State Director, NSW/ACT at the Australian Trade and Investment Commission, (Austrade) and was previously, Senior Trade Commissioner for Russia/CIS based at the Australian Embassy in Moscow. Prior to joining Austrade, she practised as a lawyer, in Sydney and, thereafter, for 17 years, in London, where she was lead counsel to foreign investors in several of the significant international transactions in the CIS region, advised on privatisation and restructuring issues and international debt and equity financings. She holds a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Sydney (1984) and a Masters of Jurisprudence (Hons) from the Institute of State and Law of the Russian Academy of Sciences (2000). She is a qualified solicitor in New South Wales, Australia (1985) and in England and Wales (1991) and a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (2010).

Sheba Nandkeolyar

National Chair, Australia India Business Council

Sheba Nandkeolyar is the National Chair of the Australia India Business Council (AIBC) and a board member of the Australia India Council. Sheba is a renowned and highly awarded multicultural marketer, experienced in integrated Advertising, International Marketing and Cross Cultural Consulting, with experience across 3 continents. She actively advises Government and Industry on trade and business matters pertaining to India and Asia. She promotes bi-lateral business and trade, and people-to-people connections between Australia and India. Sheba founded and is CEO of MultiConnexions, among other businesses she set up in Australia. She is a Board Member of the International Advertising Association - Australia Chapter (IAA).

Peter O'Byrne

 Chair, National Advisory Board,

Export Council of Australia

Peter O'Byrne is an adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Business and Economics at Macquarie University. He is on advisory Boards for the Faculty, Centre for the Health Economy, South Asia Forum and Export Council of Australia. He has been on the Boards of the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade), Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (Efic), NSW Export and Investment Advisory Council and Australia India Business Council. He has managed the Australian Hearing Service and Reckitt & Colman operations across Asia.

Kumar Parakala

Global Digital Leader, GHD

Kumar is the Global Digital Leader at GHD, the global engineering consulting firm with 8500+ people. Prior to that, he was an entrepreneur and founder of Technova - a digital transformation agency. Technova was acquired by GHD in March 2017. Kumar also served at KPMG from 2000 to 2015 as a senior partner. An authority in consulting and technology services businesses, Kumar received the Digital Disruptors International Professional of the Year Award in 2016 and the Queensland Government Leadership Excellence Award. An alumnus of the Harvard Business School, he was inducted into the ACS Hall of Fame in 2011.

Parag Shirnamé

Dr Shirnamé  is a respected international trade & investment specialist with market development expertise in Australia, India - South Asia, Russia, France and South Africa. He is an entrepreneur, a top market-entry strategist, with a reputable track record of attracting large-scale inward investments to Australia. Dr Parag Shirnamé was Queensland Trade & Investment Commissioner to India and South Asia from 2013 to 2016. An experienced leader, Dr Shirnamé was the Chief Executive Officer of DSK Supinfocom, an Indo French JV, as well as the Dean of Ford Academy and Regional Manager Asia Pacific for Ford Motor Company Australia.

Jacinta Thompson

Executive Director, University of South Australia Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre

Prior to joining UniSA, Jacinta was the Artistic Director of the OzAsia Festival at Adelaide Festival Centre from 2007-2014, and Executive Producer for the Adelaide Cabaret Festival from 2003-2006. She has previously worked as the Education Manager for Sydney Theatre Company, Regional Arts Victoria and the 1994 and 1996 Adelaide Fringe Festivals. Jacinta was also a Program Manager of the 1998 and 2000 Adelaide Festival of Arts and Operations Manager for the 1995 and 1997 Come Out Youth Arts Festival. Jacinta spent 15 months living in Majuro, Marshall Islands as an Australian Volunteer International working as a Management Trainer with Youth to Youth in Health.  Jacinta was also awarded an Asialink Arts Management Residency and spent 6months working in Programming at the Esplanade Theatres on the Bay, Singapore. In early 2017, Jacinta was a Venue Manager for the Jaipur Literature Festival, India.

Erin Watson-Lynn

Director, Asialink Diplomacy

Erin is the Director of Asialink Diplomacy at the University of Melbourne and is Chair of the Advisory Board of the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education. She is the co-founder of DICE (Digital, Innovative, Creative and Entrepreneurial) Kids and founding director of Generate Worldwide. In 2015 and 2016 respectively, Erin was a delegate to the G20 Youth Summit in Turkey and G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance in China. Erin has also worked at United Nations ESCAP in New Delhi and at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne.

Panel of Experts 2016  - Click Here

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