Advisory Group

The leading thinkers and practitioners sharing their knowledge
Helping us deepen our connections with communities, challenge our current thinking, and stay focused on the future.

Our Advisory Board brings together experts with a wide range of backgrounds whose different perspectives help shape our strategy and priorities. 

In 2023 we will be expanding our Advisory Board and will provide updates as new members join. 

I join this Advisory Group with much fervour. We need to collaborate, listen and care more deeply than ever before, providing simple and clear feedback loops and recommendations from lived experience, that see our systemic structures meet the needs of all families in Australia. The time is now.
Bernadette Black AM, Advisory Board member

Current Members

Kirsten Andrews Vice President (External Engagement), University of Sydney
Bernadette Black AM Social Economic Ambassador, SEED; Founding Director and Former CEO Brave Foundation
Lee Cooper Executive Design Manager, ThinkPlace Global; Founder, Radical Box; Founding Board Member of the Social Enterprise Council NSW and ACT
Robyn Holt Design Consultant and Co-Founder of Monocle Magazine
Jaky Troy Professor of Linguistics; Director, Indigenous Research, University of Sydney

Former Members

Rae Cooper AO (2019-2022) Professor of Gender, Work and Employment Relations, University of Sydney
Tim Soutphommasane  (2019-2022) Professor of Practice, University of Sydney
Will Somerville (2019-2022) Director, Unbound Philanthropy
Gurnek Bains (2019-2022) Chief Executive Officer, Global Future
Michael Trail AM (2019-2022) Chairman, Goodstart Early Learning, Executive Director, For Purpose Investments, and Director, MH Carnegie & Co and Sunsuper
Eileen Gillooly (2019-2022) Executive Director of the Heyman Center for the Humanities and Society of Fellows at Columbia University, New York
Kirsten Andrews

Kirsten Andrews

Kirsten Andrews is the Vice-President (External Engagement) at the University of Sydney. The role is the University's strategic lead for externally facing activities, with responsibility for industry, government and community engagement, marketing and communications, media and public relations, museums and cultural engagement, events and student recruitment, admissions and mobility. 

Kirsten joined the University of Sydney in 2013 as Head of Media and PR before becoming Director of Media and Government Relations. She then spent three years as Chief of Staff to the Vice-Chancellor. 

“The University of Sydney is full of people who want to change the world, many through public policy.  Many of them aren’t sure how to do that. The Lab has already demonstrated it can help them, and I want to help it grow its impact on both the University and public policy.”

Prior to joining the University, Kirsten held senior positions in government and the not-for-profit sector, including at the National Heart Foundation, as Chief of Staff to a federal minister, and Deputy Director of Communications to the Premier of New South Wales. 

She began her career at the University of South Australia where she worked in public affairs and student recruitment. Kirsten holds a BA in Communication Studies (Hons) from the University of South Australia and a MA in Public Policy from the University of Sydney.  She has also completed a residential leadership course at the London School of Economics.

Bernadette Black

Bernadette Black AM

Bernadette works with governments and communities across Australia, leveraging her advocacy for our most at-risk young families by connecting lived experience to service delivery and policy design. Her work is having a transformative impact on our wider systems, helping these structures collaborate and become simple, so they can meet the needs of those that need it most.

From her own humble beginnings as a 16-year-old mother to founding and leading Brave as its inaugural CEO, to most recently being appointed its Social Economic Empowerment Ambassador (SEEA), Bernadette has gained a deep understanding of the issues facing our most disadvantaged youth and families. As SEEA she now leads the Social Economic Empowerment Division (SEED) of Brave, advocating for our most at-risk young families.

“Prevention is almost always cheaper, almost always more effective, and always more humane than repairing and I can’t wait to explore and tackle how we do this together.”

Bernadette believes Australia can lead the way in transforming our traditional government systems, whilst complementing our necessary government functions. She convenes coalitions to advocate for wider systems change, helping complex structures collaborate and become simple, so they can meet the needs of those that need it most.

Bernadette is a Member of the Order of Australia for her significant service to young people, communities, and local governments. She has also been awarded the Australian Tasmanian of the Year and was included in the top 100 Australian Financial Review's Women of Influence for her pioneering leadership and impact with Brave Foundation. 

Lee Cooper

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. 

Lee is currently Executive Design Manager at ThinkPlace and teaches at the Centre for Social Impact at the University of New South Wales. 

Lee is the founder of Radicalbox, a project that addressed homelessness and inequality through the COVID-19 pandemic, 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.

Robyn Holt

Robyn Holt

“I accepted the invitation to join the advisory group, as I am a believer in community lead initiatives. The power of collective is exciting to me and when lead well results produced are ground-breaking.

As someone who has spent my whole career in communications, I have a strong sense of cut through of messages. I work in a creative way and hope to add to the strategic growth of the Sydney Policy Lab.“

Robyn Holt is a senior management executive consultant. She has held the role of CEO of Conde Nast both in Australia and internationally. She negotiated and succeeded in licensing the brands. Moving to Russia she launched new titles like Architectural Digest, GQ, Glamour and Tatler. She licensed and created global opportunities with Vogue Café and GQ Bars.

Moving to UK she became the financial advisor and CEO for Tyler Brule's global media brand Monocle, now known as the design bible.  She extended the brand by working on around the clock audio service called Monocle 24. Also establishing a retail arm and product offering. Monocle is a true global brand. 

Robyn has a proven achievement record in publishing, fashion/ beauty and interior design businesses and has delivered major success rates in turn arounds and re-engineering change. She has been a governor of Tarragona and Western Plains Zoos and on the Advisory Board to GPT for Voyagers Hotels through the successful sale. She chaired Tourism North Territory and was a counselor for Australian National Maritime Museum. 

Robyn was a member of CEW (Chief Executive Women) and of the AICD (Australian Institute of Company Directors).

Robyn is married to Jim Holt (actor), with one daughter Hannah and three grandchildren. 

Jakelyn Troy

Jaky Troy

Professor Jakelin Troy is Director of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research at the University of Sydney. A Ngarigu woman of the Snowy Mountains in southeastern Australia, her interests are focused on documenting, describing, and reviving Indigenous languages. 

She is currently undertaking two Australian Research Council Discovery Projects; one on the history of Aboriginal missions and reserves in eastern Australia, and the history of Aboriginal people who were not institutionalised, and the other on the practice of 'corroboree' by Aboriginal people in the 'assimilation period' of the mid-20th century in Australia. 

Professor Troy's research interests also tie in with the use of Indigenous research methodologies and community engaged research practices.