Tanya Spisbah

Tanya Spisbah was recently appointed Head, Strategic International Engagement, University of New South Wales. From 2014-2017, Ms Spisbah was a diplomat at the Australian High Commission, New Delhi, specialising in technology diplomacy for inclusive, sustainable growth. She led the bilateral health agenda resulting in Prime Ministers Turnbull and Modi exchanging an MoU for Health and Medicine, paving the way for cooperation in digital health. Other areas of policy leadership included smart cities and infrastructure, fintech and investment. In previous roles in the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Ms Spisbah has served in Russia and Iraq. Ms Spisbah has negotiated free trade agreements with a number of Asian partners, led Australia’s education agenda in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and represented Australia at the World Trade Organization on intellectual property and environment. Ms Spisbah was formerly a lawyer with Minter Ellison, specialising in IP and technology. Ms Spisbah is passionate about the Australia-India relationship. She holds degrees in law, philosophy and economics and a Masters of Laws specialising in intellectual property, international trade and development.

Laurie Pearcey

Laurie Pearcey is currently Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International) at UNSW Sydney. Laurie is responsible for developing the transformative global partnerships portfolio that underpins the global impact pillar of UNSW’s 2025 Strategy.

Prior to his appointment, Laurie led the development of UNSW’s China and India Priority Country Strategies which resulted in a range of major outcomes including the establishment of the $100 million Torch Innovation Precinct at UNSW as part of a groundbreaking partnership with Chinese industry. Laurie has also served as the Executive Director of the International Office and the Director of the Confucius Institute at UNSW.

Before joining UNSW, Laurie was the Chief Executive Officer of the Australia China Business Council where he led the Council’s strategic engagement with the Chinese and Australian Governments and represented the collective interests of major industry stakeholders in the Sino-Australian trade and investment relationship.

Laurie was described by the China Daily as ‘at the forefront of almost all business, personal and political relations between Australia and China’ and is widely regarded as one of Australia’s leading China experts. He is a respected commentator on the Chinese political economy, Australia’s relationship with China and higher education issues contributing regularly to major media organisations including the ABC, Channel NewsAsia, Fairfax, Xinhua News and the People’s Daily.

Laurie is a proud UNSW alumnus and a Scholar of the Order of Australia Association Foundation and was a Visiting Fellow in Pacific and Asian History at the Australian National University

Beau Leese

Beau is co-founder and co-CEO of Intersective, an education technology startup which seeks to better connect work and learning. Our Practera platform supports collaborative project learning programs, tools and apps to enable thousands of high quality work integrated learning experiences, from single internships to experiential case studies and large scale accelerator programs. We work with a range of leading education providers and employers in Australia and around the world.

Prior to joining Intersective full-time at the end of 2015, Beau was Head of Strategy, Innovation & International for the CSIRO – Australia’s national R&D Agency, with a budget of approximately $1.4 billion. In this role, Beau led the development of CSIRO’s Strategy 2020, led a major organisational reform and co-founded CSIRO’s accelerator / entrepreneurship program – CSIRO ON. Beau oversaw CSIRO’s planning, performance, impact and investment functions and international operations in more than 80 countries. He was a member of CSIRO’s Executive management, commercial and investment committees.

Beau was formerly a Director with Deloitte Consulting where he delivered strategy, innovation and performance improvement projects for universities, companies and government agencies and previously co-founded two online startups. Beau was an Australian Financial Review (AFR) Boss Young Executive of the Year in 2013. He holds a Certificate in Executive Leadership, Masters in Marketing, Bachelor of Laws and is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Vikram Sampath

Vikram Sampath is the author of three acclaimed books of non-fiction: ‘Splendours of Royal Mysore: the untold story of the Wodeyars’, ‘My name is Gauhar Jaan! : the life and times of a musician’ and ‘Voice of the Veena: S. Balachander, abiography’. The book on Gauhar Jaan won him several laurels, including India’s National Academy of Letters, the Sahitya Akademi’s first Yuva Puraskar in English literature and the Association of Recorded Sound Companies (ARSC) International Award for Excellence in Historical Research in New York. The book has been adapted to a play directed by Lillette Dubey and written by Mahesh Dattani. Vikram was among four artists and writers to be selected for the prestigious Residential Programme at the Rashtrapati Bhawan by the Honourable President of India.

Vikram is an Electronics Engineer and Mathematician from BITS-Pilani, an MBA in Finance from SP Jain, Mumbai and is finishing his PhD in Music History from the University of Queensland, Australia. He has worked in several leading multinational companies like GE Money, Citibank and Hewlett Packard, the Government of India’s Ministry of Culture where he headed the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) and as the Director of Symbiosis School of Media and Communication (SSMC).

Vikram has established India’s first digital sound archive for preservation of vintage gramophone records of the country called the Archive of Indian Music (AIM) and co-founded India’s second largest literary conclave, the Bangalore Literature Festival (BLF) in 2012. He is currently a Fellow of the Aspen Global Leadership Programme, has been a visiting Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg (Institute for Advanced Study) in Berlin, and serves on several Government bodies like the Karnataka Knowledge Commission, Karnataka Tourism Vision Group, Sam Pitroda Commission on national archives and Prasar Bharati core committee on archives. He is also a member of the International Society for Music Education (ISME) and one of the representatives of India in this group. A trained Carnatic vocalist under several eminent gurus such as Vid. D V Nagaraj, Smt. Bombay Jayashri and Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh, he writes regularly for newspapers and magazines.

Mitali Mukherjee

Mitali Mukherjee is one of the most well known faces in the world of business journalism in India. With over 15 years’ experience in the television industry, she has handled a wide range of issues — from politics to global and local economics.

She has also worked on issues of socio-economic importance with organisations like The World Bank .

In Television, she has worked with the TV18 Network, The TV Today group, Doordarshan (India’s National Broadcaster) & BBC World.

As former News & Markets Editor at CNBC TV18, Mitali curated & anchored a gamut of issues including equity markets, global economic trends and investor education. She has also reported and anchored on key environmental and social issues such as the power crisis in India and the agri sector .

A gold medallist in Television Journalism from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), Delhi and a gold medallist in Political Science (Honours) from Delhi University, Mitali brings a unique perspective to her interaction with expert panels and viewers alike.

In the field of education, Mitali holds a postgraduate qualification in teaching children with learning disabilities and works on assessing and remediating children with dyslexia, dyscalculia and dysgraphia. She has also created learning tools specifically for children where English is not the primary language.

With a strong people-connect, Mitali brings a deep understanding of India’s socio-economic strengths and weaknesses and a passion for the twin fields of journalism and education.

Danielle Rajendram

Danielle Rajendram is a Policy Officer at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra. Previously, Danielle worked as a Research Associate in the International Security Program at the Lowy Institute for International Policy, where her work focused on Indian foreign and domestic policy, China-India relations and broader Asian strategic issues.

Danielle holds a Master of International Law from the Australian National University and a Bachelor of International Studies from the University of New South Wales, with a major in Asian Studies. During her undergraduate degree, she spent a year studying international relations and Japanese language at Keio University in Tokyo.

Danielle participated as a delegate in the 2014 Australia India Youth Dialogue in Hyderabad and New Delhi.

Vandana Goyal

Vandana Goyal is the CEO of Akanksha Foundation. Vandana worked with the Boston-based non-profit organization Citizen Schools, an organisation dedicated to changing the life trajectories of underprivileged children in urban areas, for four years. She is a graduate of Claremont McKenna College, with a degree in Economics, and as part of her undergraduate studies spent a year at the London School of Economics.

At Akanksha, Vandana served on the team to create a blueprint for Teach for India, later moving on to manage the Beyond School department serving all adolescent children of Akanksha. In 2007, she became the Director of The School Project, launched to create a network of high-achieving schools within the government system. She took over as CEO in January 2010.

Sonal Kapoor

Sonal Kapoor, Founder Director of Protsahan India Foundation, a young non-profit that is making waves across the globe for innovatively using creative education for at-risk street children rescued from red light areas, slums, drugs and disabilities. A microbiologist-MBA who quit the herd mentality of 9-5 work schedules to follow her heart and bring change to transform lives.

Sonal is considered one of the most inspiring young social entrepreneurs in the world and was recently covered and interviewed by Economic Times, Times Of India, Asian Age, Tehelka, Your story, CNBC and several others. She was recently chosen to represent India at the World Bank-IMF, Annual Meetings 2011 in Washington DC. She blogs for the World Bank, has spoken at several Tedx conferences and strongly believes that it is the youth that can bridge gaps and foster healthy dialogue amongst nations today.

Shayamal Vallabjee

Shayamal is a Sports Scientist, Entrepreneur and Lecturer, having worked with some of the world’s best athletes. With over 10 years of experience in the industry, Shayamal has had the opportunity to work with the Davis Cup & cricket teams of India and South Africa.

He currently works with a number of top players on the ATP Circuit. Shayamal is equipped with an amalgamation of knowledge and experience, including a degree in Sports Sciences, a postgraduate degree in Exercise Science and a diploma in Sports Management. He is director at Digi-Sports – an organisation geared towards the performance enhancement of athletes – and is an exercise consultant to the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls. Shayamal is also a self-published author having written two books on sports science and medicine in cricket.

Shankar Vanavaryar

Shankar Vanavarayar is the Correspondent/President of NIA Educational Institutions and Executive Director of Sakthi Auto Motors Ltd., a part of the Sakthi Group based out of Coimbatore. Shankar Vanavarayar has a Bachelors Degree in Commerce from PSG Arts and Science College Coimbatore, an MBA from the Cardiff University in the UK and a Masters in International Education Management from the University of Leeds, UK. Shankar plays various roles in the US$1 billion Sakthi Group. Presently, he plays a passionate and dynamic role in the management of NIA Educational institutions which educate more than 12,000 students from school to higher education.

Shankar has been a part of the Confederation of Indian Industry’s Young Indians for the past six years, playing various roles from chapter to national positions of Strategy, Communication and Events.