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Advisory Board

The leading thinkers and change-makers holding us to account
Our Advisory Board brings together world-renowned experts from a wide range of backgrounds to help co-create solutions to international policy problems with our researchers and partners.
I am excited about the potential of the Sydney Policy Lab and its brilliant staff team because the lab has set itself the challenge of grappling with the key questions of our time. Answering questions such as how power is distributed and how we live together in a world of migration and difference will determine the future of democracies across the world.
Will Somerville, Advisory Board member


Kirsten Andrews Vice President (External Engagement), University of Sydney
Gurnek Bains Chief Executive Officer, Global Future
Eileen Gillooly Executive Director of the Heyman Center for the Humanities and Society of Fellows at Columbia University, New York
Will Somerville Director, Unbound Philanthropy
Tim Soutphommasane Professor of Practice, University of Sydney
Michael Traill AM Chairman, Goodstart Early Learning, Executive Director, For Purpose Investments, and Director, MH Carnegie & Co and Sunsuper
Lee Cooper  Founder, Radical Box, Founding Board Member of the Social Enterprise Council NSW and ACT
Kirsten Andrews

Kirsten Andrews

Kirsten Andrews began her career at the University of South Australia, where she worked in advisory roles to the Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Vice-Chancellor and in public affairs. Before her current role, Kirsten was national media communications manager for the National Heart Foundation and spent 10 years serving as a political adviser, including as chief of staff to the Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, deputy director of communications to the NSW Premier and media adviser to two Federal Leaders of the Opposition.

Kirsten holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies (Hons) from the University of South Australia and a Master in Public Policy from the University of Sydney. She has completed a residential leadership course at the London School of Economics.

Gurnek Bains

Gurnek Bains

Gurnek Bains leads Global Future, a think tank that is committed to ensuring that the values of being open, outreaching and inclusive are protected in today’s world. Before this role, he founded and led YSC, a leadership consulting firm with 24 offices globally. He is involved in a number of artistic, charity and political organisations in the United Kingdom. He has a doctorate in psychology from Oxford University and is the author of Meaning Inc and Cultural DNA: The Psychology of Globalisation

Eileen Gillooly

Eileen Gillooly

Eileen Gillooly is Executive Director of the Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University, where she is an associate professor of English at the Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality.  Eileen has a BA from Scripps College and a PhD from Columbia University.

Her interests include 19th-century British and Irish studies, gender studies, public humanities, medical and health humanities, and literary and social theory. She is the principal investigator of the Mellon-funded Justice-in-Education Initiative, which extends educational opportunities to incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals.

Her publications include Smile of discontent: humour, gender, and nineteenth-century British fiction (1999), which was awarded the Perkins Prize by the International Society for the Study of Narrative in 2001, and, as contributing co-editor, Victorian prism: refractions of the Crystal Palace (2007) and Contemporary Dickens (2009). 

Will Somerville

Will Somerville

Will Somerville is a Director at Unbound Philanthropy, one of the world’s leading independent grant-making foundations. It strives to ensure that migrants and refugees are treated with respect and engage with their new communities. In addition to his Unbound role, he also works part time as a Senior Fellow for the US-based think tank, the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) and as a Visiting Professor at the University of Sheffield in the UK.

Before joining MPI in 2006, Will worked at the Commission for Racial Equality, the UK Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit, Cabinet Office, and the Institute for Public Policy Research. He has authored more than 60 policy papers, chapters and journal articles, mostly related to migration, and has commented widely in the media. He is also Board Chair of the charity, More in Common.

Tim Soutphommasane

Tim Soutphommasane 

Tim Soutphommasane is a human rights advocate and political theorist. He is Professor of Practice (Sociology and Political Theory) at the University of Sydney and was Australia’s race discrimination commissioner from 2013 to 2018. His thinking on patriotism, multiculturalism and national identity has been influential in debates in Australia and Britain.

Tim is the author of five books: On Hate (2019), I’m Not Racist But …(2015), Don’t Go Back To Where You Came From (2012),The Virtuous Citizen (2012), and Reclaiming Patriotism (2009). He is also the co-editor (with Nick Dyrenfurth) of All That’s Left (2010).

Tim completed a Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Philosophy (with Distinction) at the University of Oxford, and holds a first class honours degree from the University of Sydney.

Michael Traill

Michael Traill AM

Michael Traill founded Social Ventures Australia in 2002, after 15 years as a co-founder and executive director of Macquarie Group’s private equity arm, Macquarie Direct Investment. Having stepped down as CEO of Social Ventures in 2014, Michael currently has a range of chair and board roles that are primarily focused on social purposes. They include:

  • Chair of Goodstart Early Learning
  • Executive Director of For Purpose Investments
  • Director of MH Carnegie & Co and Sunsuper
  • member of the Council of the National Museum of Australia.  

He is the author of Jumping Ship – From the world of corporate Australia to the heart of social investment, which won the Ashurst Business Literature Prize. The book reflects on his personal and professional journey and has been a widely acclaimed manifesto for change and action in the social purpose sector. He holds a BA (Hons) from the University of Melbourne and an MBA from Harvard University.

Lee Cooper

Lee was jolted into action by the preventable death of his younger sister from a heroin overdose, beginning his career in youth addiction. His career has developed across youth, cancer, disability, Indigenous, development, homelessness, addiction, program design and evaluation, marketing and fundraising, research, social enterprise, innovation and impact, from the frontline to executive. Most recently, Lee founded Radicalbox, a new project to address homelessness and inequality through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lee is a founding board member of the Social Enterprise Council NSW and ACT and an advisor to Generations Australia and Sydney Food Lab. Lee completed his Master of Management at the University of Technology Sydney, specialising in the non-profit sector.