Meet our newest Alumni Council members, who represent the University's vibrant and global community of graduates.
From entrepreneurs and medical professionals to global marketing creatives and lawyers, the Alumni Council has represented the diversity of the University’s now 420,000 strong alumni cohort for more than 80 years.
“The University is delighted to work alongside such experts in their field. Their voice will play a vital role in shaping our alumni program and in helping drive forward the University's major initiatives in student experience and research,” says Kate May, Director of Alumni and Supporter Relations.
Public policy and strategic communications executive Ehssan Veiszadeh (BSc (MolecBiotech) ’08) steps into the role of President, and tech sector leader Mathew Demetriou (BA ’05) as Deputy. Ehssan is Deputy CEO and Director of Strategy at the Committee for Sydney, with a background in government, media and small business. Mathew is a General Manager for Experian, with extensive experience in the technology sector across both corporate and start-up environments.
“As the President, I will dedicate my time to using the collective might of our members to represent the voice of alumni,” says Ehssan.
This year, we have added six new members to the Alumni Council. We caught up with them to get their thoughts on leadership and the value of a University of Sydney education.
Future Communities Leaders, GHD
BSc (Arch) ’93, BArch ’93
Michelle is an architect, urban designer, and urban development leader with tripartite experience in development, government, and consulting. With more than 25 years’ experience in city shaping, Michelle brings a holistic understanding of place creation through design led strategy. She is passionate about putting people and young people first when creating connected, productive, resilient, and inspired future communities and demonstrates this through her role as a specialist adviser to UNICEF’s Child-Friendly Cities Initiative.
To me leadership means harnessing meaning and purpose in what we do while creating an environment that gets the very best out of everyone.
My Sydney Uni education literally means the world to me – further study in the US and Denmark, working on every continent, and a connection to cultures and humanity all over the world I didn’t imagine possible.
Managing Director, MA Financial Group
BEc ’98 PhD ’01
Amelia has over 20 years’ experience in investment banking including mergers and acquisitions and public/private capital raising. Amelia is a Managing Director in Corporate Advisory, MA Moelis Australia and prior to this she was an Executive Director at UBS where she ran the firm’s Alternative Capital Group and small/mid-market Equity Capital Markets business in Australia.
Leadership for me is about making a positive impact; where you can inspire, empower and drive constructive change.
A University of Sydney education is more than just achieving a degree - there is the opportunity to build friendships and networks that will last a lifetime.
Global Marketing, Cash App
Jackie has over 25 years’ of marketing, digital disruption and transformation experience across media, tech, communications, and financial services. She has worked with some truly impactful brands including BBC, Netflix, Skype, Virgin and Afterpay. Since returning to Australia in 2021, Jackie is an adviser and board member to some of the leaders in the entrepreneur and innovation ecosystem including Canva, Kbox Global, KOMMA, Reejig and Football Australia.
It means wading in and finding a navigable path in a world of constant flux, weighing up a myriad of complex factors including dynamically changing industries and eco-systems, purpose and profit, community and individuals, current and future generations.
It means acknowledging that no one has all the answers: embracing a growth mindset, building agency in others, and figuring out the path forward together.
It means inherently understanding that our teams are people with different backgrounds, with different stories, perspectives, experiences and motivations. It means striving to be socially responsive, listening, unlearning and fostering a more inclusive culture.
University of Sydney provided me with a rich and varied set of experiences – academically, with extracurricular interests ranging from revues to sports, and the perfect setting from which to make many firm friendships! I have also travelled the world with my career – and with its international reputation - the University of Sydney emboldened me to take that first step.
Director, Transformation Program Management, Health Ageing & Human Services, KPMG Australia
Daniel has over 20 years’ experience in clinical, operational and strategic roles across the health sector. Daniel is currently a Director in Health, Ageing and Human Services at KPMG, focusing on Transformation Program Management. As a passionate advocate for the members of our community experiencing disadvantage and vulnerability, Daniel works hard to improve access and quality of healthcare by transforming patient engagement and operating models through incorporating innovative digital health technologies.
For me, leadership is about helping others. It’s understanding the collective goal, taking the time to talk and listen, and helping everyone to achieve their full potential. I believe it’s important to value people for who they are in the present, not where they might have come from or their past, trusting that everyone is capable of incredible things if afforded the opportunity. I also think it’s about trust, trust in the those around you and trust in yourself. That means being vulnerable and honest about your fears or concerns, being open and willing to learn from and with each other, remembering there is more than one way to arrive at the same outcome, and it is always OK to ask for help or guidance. I am inspired by those leaders I have met from all walks of life and am reminded often to reflect and be grateful for the simple things as well as the extraordinary.
I truly believe that my education from the University of Sydney really set me up for the success through the rest of my career. Through my Bachelor of Nursing degree, in addition to my deep clinical knowledge that I continue to draw upon today, I developed a sense of enquiry, problem solving, lifelong learning and compassion for others. These are things I am for ever grateful for as they will stick with me in everything I do in and outside of my working life.
BA ’12, LLB ’13
Alex is a lawyer, entrepreneur and co-founder of Sprintlaw, an international law/tech firm that's transforming the way legal services are delivered to small businesses. Alex specialises in the technology space and was named one of Australia's Most Influential Lawyers by Australasian Lawyer in 2022, one of Asia Law Portal’s "30 People to Watch" in the Business of Law in Asia in 2020 and was selected by Lawyer’s Weekly as the top under 30 technology & media lawyer in Australia in 2019.
For me, leadership is about vision; creating a picture of a possible future and helping to inspire and motivate others to make that picture a reality.
It is a fantastic learning experience, a collection of amazing memories, a network of talented and clever people, lifelong friends, and a stamp of credibility.
Lead Dentist and practice associate at Dapto Dentists
BMedSc (Hons) '11
Mohit is a regional dental surgeon based in Dapto, New South Wales, who, in addition to undertaking professional development studies and leadership commitments, has altruistically devoted his time to various career and community initiatives. Mohit has contributed to dentistry through Indigenous students’ education, dental health advocacy, multicultural enrichment, professional development, and youth leadership.
An aspect of great leadership has always enthralled me – it is championing, empowering and inspiring people around you. Individuals tend to thrive on positive reinforcement. When this is coupled with the added support of others, it boosts your confidence and energy to outdo your previous potential. Thereby, leadership to me is being a cheerleader for people around you.
Three words have always resonated within me when I think of my University of Sydney (USYD) education – empower, enrich and enlighten. Empowering yourself with new knowledge to enrich your personal and professional worlds whilst enlightening others around you makes you an all-encompassing global thinker and that is what my USYD education means to me.
Jennie Mackenzie's generous donation will offer critical support to early career researchers and encourage collaboration across disciplines at the Charles Perkins Centre.