Meet the newest members of the University's Alumni Council

9 February 2022

Representing Sydney graduates for more than 80 years

Jane MacMaster, Engineers Australia Chief Engineer and Ehssan Veiszadeh, Committee for Sydney Deputy CEO have been endorsed by the Senate to join the University's Alumni Council.

Leadership for Good is underway at the University of Sydney Alumni Council.

The Council, formerly known as the Standing Committee of Convocation, was first established in 1939 to strengthen engagement with the alumni community and support the University’s vision.

Each year, nominations for new members are reviewed by the Alumni and Supporter Relations Portfolio and submitted to the People and Culture Sub-Committee of Senate.

This year two additional alumni, Ms Jane MacMaster and Mr Ehssan Veiszadeh, have been endorsed by the Senate to join the Alumni Council.

We caught up with them to ask them what they were most looking forward to, what they are passionate about and what leadership means to them.

Jane MacMaster

Alumni Council Member
BEHons(Mechanical) ‘94

Jane MacMaster has worked as an aerospace, mechanical and systems design engineer in Australia and internationally, focusing primarily on supersonic flight vehicle design, operations research, and rapid prototyping and strategy in the defence and cyber security sectors.

Prior to becoming Chief Engineer at Engineers Australia, she developed a generalised approach for complex problem solving, which she taught across  all faculties at universities, and to staff from Commonwealth, and State and Territory government departments.

Mostly meeting new people from a wide range of backgrounds who are doing exciting and inspiring work, and making connections.

At work, I’m passionate about developing people’s complex problem solving skills. It’s a skillset we’re not often taught and yet these ideas and techniques are so important as we grapple with challenges at an unprecedented level of complexity.

Outside of work, I’m passionate about my family (we have two teenage sons who I adore). I also love running, photography, coffee and dinner parties.

I think of ‘leadership’ as inspiring, guiding and empowering people to achieve things. Leadership for good, then, is inspiring, guiding and empowering people to achieve things to help make the world a better place.

To be a good leader requires someone to be able to draw on a wide range of observations and experiences in order to contribute useful insight. Everyone has the opportunity to be a leader in an area they feel passionate about, not just CEOs.

Ehssan Veiszadeh

Alumni Council Member
BSc(MolecBiotech) ‘08

Ehssan is an experienced strategic communications executive with a background in government, journalism and small business. As Committee for Sydney Deputy CEO, Ehssan is responsible for turning policy ideas into real world change, working in collaboration with the Committee’s more than 150 members, industry bodies and government.

A member of NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s senior leadership team between 2015 and 2021, Ehssan provided strategic advice to the premier, cabinet and the public sector on a range of high profile issues facing the state, including the Covid-19 pandemic response and recovery.

Prior to entering government, Ehssan worked in media, including five years as a journalist for Australian Associated Press (AAP).

As a proud alumnus, I look forward to celebrating that and looking for ways of making the student experience even better. I also look forward to connecting with other alumni and sharing our University experiences.

Having grown up in the heart of Sydney and Tehran, I have always gravitated towards global, 24-hour cities: melting pots of different cultures and philosophies. That’s what drives my work at the Committee for Sydney, an urban think tank that is passionate about making Sydney the best global city in the world.  

I also love mentoring young people, particularly those with diverse backgrounds. Helping a young person find their passion, whether that is in their career or personal life, is incredibly rewarding.

Outside of work, I love music, and have used recent lockdowns to set up a little home studio, and still play for my local soccer club.

Leadership for good to me is all about using whatever platform and opportunity you have in your life to make a positive difference. It’s about appreciating that with privileges come responsibilities.

It’s also about understanding that we are capable of being leaders in our everyday lives, whether that is in our family settings or at work.