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An exciting line up of well-respected speakers shall be presenting at the CISA 2019 Conference. Details of speakers will be announced as soon as arrangements are confirmed.

Ahmed is an international student from Turkey studying Nursing at Curtin University. He came to Australia in 2011 with very little English. After studying English for one year, he attended Curtin College and completed his Foundation Course. During his study, he became a student leader in the college. His leadership skills and passion were noticed by the College Staff and they offered him an Internship in student services. After completion of his internship, he was offered a part-time job in Curtin College.
Then, Ahmed was elected unanimously as the President of International Students Committee in Curtin University in 2016. He represented international students in various board and committee meetings in Curtin University. In 2017, when representing the Curtin University in CISA Conference, Ahmed was elected as the National Vice-President of CISA (Council of International Students Australia). He has travelled to several states, attended and spoken at various conferences and meetings. He had the opportunity to sit in the Council for International Education with six federal ministers and CEOs of peak bodies and leaders of the sector. He was the Conference Convenor for CISA 2018 Conference and the project leader for CISA Business Sustainability Project. After, successful completion of the projects and end of his term, Ahmed helps as Advisor to the new CISA Team. He advocates for all international students in Australia. He has a passion to help people. Hencewhy, after his degree, he is planning to study Medicine as masters and become a specialist.
Ahmed is the Chair of the Board of International Students Western Australia,and was appointed to the StudyPerth Board a co-opted Board Member in June 2019.

Ahmed Ademoglu


Board of International Students WA

Jen is the Director for International Education for TAFE Directors Australia (TDA), a role she started in June 2016. Jen has had extensive experience in the education policy sector, having worked at Senior Director Level in the public and private sector in Australia for many years.  Jen has also spent considerable time working offshore in education in Beijing, Bangkok and Shanghai. 

Jen began her career in the Australian Government Department of Education and Training, where she managed various national policy and program elements, including vocational education, youth transitions and trade training centres in school.  In 2010 Jen was posted with the Department to the Australian Embassies in Beijing and Bangkok, where she was the Counsellor for Education, managing the broad bilateral relationship between China/Thailand and Australia. 

After leaving the department, Ms Bahen moved to Shanghai, where she consulted to the Group of Eight, and was then the Director of Marketing and Admissions for Nord Anglia Education School Shanghai.  During her time in Shanghai Jen was the chair of the AustCham Shanghai education working group.

Jen is passionate about enabling Australian TAFEs to have the best possible international engagement and ensuring that Australia’s policy settings support this, as well as undertaking business development to reveal opportunities for TAFEs.  Jen is also keen to see as many TAFEs as possible engage in global student mobility for domestic students. 

Jen completed a Bachelor of Arts/Science with Honours at the University of Melbourne. 

Jen Bahen

Director for International Education

TAFE Directors Australia (TDA)

Malcolm Baigent has spent the last 15+ years in higher education with the last six (6) of those as College Director and Principal of Edith Cowan College (ECC), Navitas and Edith Cowan University (ECU) moved to a joint-venture model in 2016. In addition to his College responsibilities around governance, accreditation and teaching and learning, a key focus of Malcolm’s leadership role is the delivery of quality academic outcomes and a positive student experience that sets students up for success at ECC, ECU and beyond. 

Prior to ECC, Malcolm spent 10 years at ECU, where he held a range of senior leadership roles, including those of - University HR Manager, Faculty Operations Manager, and Manager Partnership Development & Services (International). 


Malcolm is passionate about quality and attributes his discipline, commitment to task and ‘can do’ attitude to having spent the first five years of his adult working life in the Australian Army. Malcolm is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, current Chair of WAPETIA, and a board member of StudyPerth

Malcolm Baigent

College Director and Principal

Edith Cowan College (ECC)

Varsha Devi Balakrishnan is a highly motivated individual who is passionate about advocating for and protecting the rights of international students in Australia. She is currently pursuing her Master of Counselling at Monash University and has previously completed her Bachelor of Arts and Master of International Development Practice. Varsha’s journey as a leader for international community began in 2016 when she joined her faculty based mentoring program as an ambassador where she raised the needs of international students particularly, programs and events focusing on the assimilation and smooth transition of incoming international students into the faculty. Since then she has been appointed to be the sole Co‚ÄźFacilitator of First in the Family & International Students division in 2018, the Education Officer of Monash’s International Student Services 2018 and a StudyMelbourne Student Ambassador 2018. Varsha was also awarded the position of 2017 Victoria International Student of the Year (Higher Education) Finalist for all her efforts and contributions.

Varsha Devi Balakrishnan

Executive Assistant to the National President of

Council of International Students Australia (CISA)

Leonie is a Registered Nurse with a Bachelor of Nursing Science and a post grad dip in Mental Health Nursing. She is also an accredited Mental Health First Aid Australia ( instructor. Leonie has lived and worked in WA, Qld and Vic and in rural, remote and metropolitan areas. Leonie’s most recent clinical work was with students at the Health Service at Curtin University. During this time she also worked at UWA in a relief capacity.  She has worked extensively with international and domestic students on a one to one basis.  This work has included individual counselling, mental health education and assisting them to tackle discussing their mental health with family members who may have limited knowledge of mental illness.

Leonie Baxter

Mental Health Nurse

Mellisa Birdas is an international student from Zimbabwe, currently studying a BA in Business administration at the University of Notre Dame Fremantle Campus.

Mellisa Birdas

Student at University of Notre Dame

Christina has been engaged in international education since 2004. She is currently the Director of International Student Recruitment at TAFE International Western Australia Over the past 14 years Christina has worked in admissions, student support, compliance, marketing, recruitment and management. She is passionate about international education and training and the positive impacts of global mobility. Christina is a graduate of the University of Western Australia and Curtin University and has a lifelong commitment to education and the difference it makes to lives.

Christina Brockman

Director of International Student Recruitment

TAFE International WA

Sally Burt is the Policy and Research Manager at Independent Higher Education Australia.

She received her PhD from the Australian National University in 2011 and is published in the area of US diplomatic history and the development of its foreign policy in Asia.

Sally has taught at ANU, Monash University and UNSW (Canberra) and has been a Visiting Fellow at the University of Florida and West Point Military Academy in New York. She has worked as a Research Assistant in international relations, history, education and the VET sector. In addition, Sally has undertaken consultancy work for organisations writing historical accounts.

Sally and a colleague have co-edited two volumes. In 2013, Global Perspectives on US Foreign Policy and in 2016, Global Perspectives on US Democratisation Efforts. She has also published other journal articles and a sole-authored monograph "At the President’s Pleasure: FDR’s Leadership of Wartime Sino-US Relations".

Sally is an active member of the Anglican Church in Melbourne, is a General Synod representative, a member of Archbishop-in-Council, the Social Responsibilities Committee and its Disability Inclusion Steering Group and has twice represented the Australian Church at the Council of the Church of East Asia Full Assembly.

Sally Burt

Policy and Research Manager

Independent Higher Education Australia

Desiree Cai is the National Union of Students National President for 2019. She studies a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in politics and international studies, and criminology at the University of Melbourne. In 2018 she represented students on campus as the President of the University of Melbourne Student Union. This year Desiree is focused on ensuring the voice of students and young people are heard, both within universities and in wider politics.

Desiree Cai

National President

National Union of Students

Jolene Chua is based in the WA state office of the Department of Home affairs. Jolene is responsible for leading the Temporary Student Visas programme here in WA. Jolene has a BCom in Business law and Management, and an MBA from the University of WA.

Jolene joined the Department of Home affairs in 2007, as part of the graduate programme and have since held various roles in the Department and managed numerous visa programs including, Partners, Family and Settlement and Multicultural Affairs.   

Jolene Chua

Acting Director

Temporary Visas, Students WA for the Department of Homeland Affairs

Anton is an award-winning international education journalist based in Australia. After graduating from The University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Journalism, he entered the international education sector in 2011, working in communications and marketing. His experience includes working in an education institution and a professional development organisation where he authored several reports on education agents’ perspectives.
Since transitioning back into journalism, Anton has become the Asia Pacific Editor for The PIE News, a global international education media and events company. His work takes him throughout the region to cover news such as sector changes and government policy. Career highlights include interviewing musician Clarence Reid and New Zealand immigration minister Iain Lees-Galloway, as well as reporting on previously unreleased Australian student visa data.
He received the IEAA Excellence Award for Professional Commentary in 2018 at the Australian International Education Conference, and the Universities Australia Higher Education Journalist of the Year in 2019 at the National Press Club of Australia.

Anton Crace

Asia Pacific Editor

The PIE News

Don Doughty started his leadership journey as a student volunteer at Melbourne Polytechnic in 2017 during his first year in Australia. While balancing work in his education expedition in Australia, he was actively involved in assisting with student engagement and organising student events for the institute.
In 2018, Don was elected as the President of Melbourne Polytechnic International Student Association. That same year, he was elected as the National VET & TAFE officer for the Council of International Students Australia. Through his representation, he has developed and collaborated various initiatives and projects to foster improvements on the welfare and wellbeing of students, and empowering student leaders.
During his student leadership journey, Don represented the Council in the Ministerial Roundtable for Victoria. In the same tenure, he was nominated to be on the board of the Higher Education Advisory Committee as student leader representative for Melbourne Polytechnic and represented the Council in the Review of Higher Education Provider Category Standard lead by Emeritus Professor Peter Coldrake. He believes that with support and collaboration, the international education sector of Australia can acquire innovation and transformation by improving on the sustainability aspects of international education and be a leading country in the industry.

Don Doughty

National VET/TAFE Officer

Council of International Students Australia

For over 20 years, Kim has worked in and with the community sector through not for profit organisations, local and State government. She has spent time studying overseas as an international student and now with two post graduate degrees in Management, she has used her passion and background in the sporting sector to contribute to community development outcomes, with particular focus on multicultural communities. Kim joined the Office of Multicultural Interests in 2017 as Executive Director with the intention to further strength community relationships and build awareness of the immense potential of Western Australia’s many diverse communities. Kim has also been a board member of Gymnastics WA and Volleyball WA and is a current board member of the Western Australian Institute of Sport and received an Australian Sports Medal for her service to Sport in Australia.

Kim Ellwood

Executive Director

Office of Multicultural Interests

MBA-degree qualified and with over 500 hours of presentations under her belt, Julia has a knack for presenting and facilitating with an engaging, unique, fun and memorable flair.
Prior to becoming a keynote speaker, trainer and coach, she worked successfully in sales, management, corporate training and development and operations, across industries such as Consumer Goods, Telecommunications, Property Development, Property Investment and e-Commerce.
Her passion is people and business and is inquisitive by nature, which means that she loves to learn about others.
Julia has become famous for her trademarked “Bold Conversations”, which she has developed to help people speak up about important matters.
Often described as a “breath of fresh air” due to her genuine nature and approach to simple and complex situations, Julia speaks from experience, with vulnerability, humility and humour.
She can truly connect with audiences and has been told over and over again how strongly her messages resonate with people.
After hearing Julia speak or attending her training, people are motivated to take the action required to excel in their business, professional and personal lives.

Julia Ewert

Keynote Speaker, Trainer, Coach - Bold Conversations

Chelsea Francis is an advocate of the issues of educational inequity, human rights violations, and the attainment of social egalitarianism. Chelsea is a Fogarty Foundation Scholar who has completed a degree in Economics under the Juris Doctor (JD) pathway at the University of Western Australia (UWA). She intends to pursue a career in civil litigation and specialise in international law and public policy.
Having been on the Amnesty International and branch committee for over three years, Chelsea has served as the 2017-2018 President of the UWA branch and remains on the executive as the IPP and Campaign Director. She has furthered her involvement in the human rights sector by interning for South32 and has since been inspired to further her work within the refugee affairs sector after spending this summer (2018-19) working at a refugee camp in Serbia. Additionally, she has been involved in the committee of the Blackstone Society and has since interned at a state law chambers. Chelsea’s passion for youth empowerment led her to consecutively serve as a member for the Youth Parliament of Western Australia. Similarly, she has served as the Secretary of the Fogarty Scholars’ Association (FSA), convened the 2016 ‘Fogarty Futures Leadership Conference’, and undertook the role of Vice-President of the FSA in 2017.
She is currently employed as an academic tutor at Teach Learn Grow (TLG), having formerly been the Executive Sponsorship Officer of the organisation. In 2018, she was also employed as a Campus Brand Ambassador for Teach For Australia. Chelsea now serves on the Editorial Board of the Perth International Law Journal.

Chelsea Francis

Campaign Director

Amnesty International UWA

Brett Galt-Smith is Director of Policy and Legislation for Education Services for Overseas Students in the Quality Frameworks Branch of International Group in the Department of Education. He has worked in international education since early 2017. Brett’s team has policy responsibility for the ESOS Act, the National Code for Providers of Education to International Students, the ELICOS Standards and the Foundation Standards. A particular focus of Brett’s team is policy on education agents and recent developments in moves toward publication of data on education agent outcomes. His team previously had carriage of the department’s participating in the Migrant Workers’ taskforce which examined the workplace exploitation of overseas students. Brett has been in the Australian public service since 2003 working in policy, program and stakeholder management roles. He has extensive experience in international relations policy and quality and regulation of international education; child care compliance; and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues.

Brett Galt-Smith

Director of Policy and Legislation for Education Services for Overseas Students

Quality Frameworks Branch of International Group in the Department of Education

Bronwyn is the current President of ISANA an organisation that for the last 30 years has supported members who work directly with international students to ensure they receive professional development and training, networking opportunities and industry news and updates. Bronwyn’s day job is at the University of New England, NSW and for the last 12 years she has been the Manager of International Services & Compliance.

Bronwyn Gilson


ISANA International Education Association

David Harvey has been voted among the Best Lawyers in Australia for 2018 and 2019.

David and his team are leading providers of advice and advocacy in migration law and other areas of human rights law. His firm advocates for clients from a diverse range of ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and takes a special interest in the more difficult issues arising under the Migration Act. David has significant experience in advocating in both Federal and Victorian jurisdictions, including the AAT, the Federal Magistrates Court and the Victorian Magistrates Court.

David also, has a keen interest in workplace rights law. His session at this year's conference will look in particular, at the extent to which workplace rights are sufficient to protect vulnerable members of the Australian community, especially temporary visa holders such as international students

David Harvey

Principal Lawyer and Migration Agent

David Harvey Law

Monisha commenced her studies with North Metropolitan TAFE in Mauritius studying Interior Design through Charles Telfair Campus.  This then brought her to Perth to finish the Advanced Diploma.  With a passion for design, it was a natural progression to building design so when she graduates at the end of this year she has the necessary combination of technical mastery and design flair.  Monisha’s passion for living in Perth (the summer weather/ outdoor living/ nightlight/ food/ beaches & natural beauty) has made her TAFEWA’s number one Student Volunteer.  It is through this continual engagement with the international student community that make Monisha value her opportunity to study in Australia.

Monisha Heeramun

North Metropolitan TAFE International Student

Advanced Diploma of Interior Design & Diploma of Building Design

Gerard is a chartered accountant and has been a business advisor with a demonstrated history of working in the middle market and startup sectors over a decade. Gerard has also completed his Masters in Entrepreneurship & Innovation which inspired him to quit his comfortable corporate job to become an entrepreneur.


Gerard founded in 2016 to solve the problem of employability for international students and also through other founded businesses, GADA technology, Pleased.Property and PCSS Gerard has employed over 30 internationals living in Australia.


Outcome.Life has received funding from LaunchVic, was a winner at the 2018 TechDiversity awards and equal second in the 2018 StartUpSmart Awards.

Gerard Holland

Chief Executive Officer


Phil Honeywood (IEAA) D5-226 (Preferred)

Honourable Phil Honeywood is CEO of the International Education Association of Australia (IEAA).
He was a Member of the Victorian State Parliament, Australia, for 18 years (1988–2006). During this period Phil served as the Victorian Minister for Tertiary Education, Training and Multicultural Affairs and was Deputy Leader of the Opposition 2002–2006.
Since 2006, Phil was Marketing Director and CEO at Stott’s Business College and Cambridge International College, Melbourne. He also served on the Governing Council of Swinburne University of Technology.
Phil is Convener of the National Council for International Education and a member of the Higher Education Standards Panel, New Colombo Plan Steering Committee and the Education Visa Consultative Committee

Hon. Phil Honeywood

Chief Executive Officer 

International Education Association of Australia (IEAA).

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Sophie Horgan is the Director of the Policy and Collaboration team in the International Group of the Australian Government Department of Education.  Sophie has extensive experience in delivering Australian Government international education policy and has recently held roles focusing on education engagement in Southeast Asia and multilateral fora.  In 2016-17 Sophie was the interim Counsellor (Education and Science) at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia and in 2014, Sophie worked in the Lao Ministry of Education and Sports as a technical adviser to support an education ministers’ meeting of the East Asia Summit.

In 2015, Sophie graduated with a Master of Public Policy from the Australian National University.

Sophie Horgan

Director of the Policy and Collaboration Team in the International Group Australian Government Department of Education

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Kasun Kalhara is an undergraduate studying Bachelor of Engineering (Honours). He is majoring in Aerospace Engineering and minoring in Robotics, Mechanical, Software, and Electrical Engineering.  Kasun is an educator, a student advocate, and a motivational speaker. He works in various positions in different local, national and international organisations in Australia. He is the National Welfare Officer of the Council of International Students Australia and he sits in the University Academic Board and Queensland International Student Advisory Panel. Kasun has been experienced in advisory, policy-making and administrative levels across different governance schemes. He volunteers as a social worker and his personal attitude puts a premium on multiculturalism and offers equal opportunities to upgrade all students' life-profiles. As a student leader, he prioritises academic excellence, career success, welfare development, health and well-being of students.  Kasun believes altruism is always the first while egoism comes the last. He identifies himself as a ‘Life Engineer’.

Kasun Kalhara

National Welfare Officer

Council of International Students of Australia (CISA).

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With more than two decades of experience in higher education leadership roles in Australia and the
UK, Professor Karstadt has the strong international profile needed to advance Murdoch University’s
presence in the region. She was Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences at
the University of Southern Queensland, a role she held for three years.
Prior to coming to Australia, Professor Karstadt worked for 20 years at the University of Hertfordshire.
Over her tenure, she rose through the ranks to become Operational Dean, Faculty of Health & Human
Sciences, and later, Associate Director – International Health Developments. It was in her most recent
roles where she developed significant networks and experience in international markets, including
India and Southeast Asia.
As Deputy Vice Chancellor International, Professor Karstadt leads the University’s internationalisation
focus, including transitional education programs in Singapore and Dubai and the development of
strategic global partners to expand the international reach of the university.

Professor Lyn Karstadt EdD MA BA RGN

Deputy Vice Chancellor International

Murdoch University


Arslan Kiyani is an International Student from Pakistan. He is pursuing Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Electronics Engineering and a recipient of International Macquarie University Research Excellence Scholarship (iMQRES) at Macquarie University, Sydney. Previously, he has done Master of Research (MRes) in Electronics Engineering and Master of Electrical Engineering (By Research) from Macquarie University, Sydney and University Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM), Malaysia respectively. Arslan has won 2 Gold Medals, a Semi-grand prize and stood first in an Olympiad for his research work at various local and international exhibitions in Pakistan, Malaysia and, South Korea. Besides his excellent educational records and research contributions, he always takes the lead in extra circular activities.
Arslan is extremely passionate about leadership and is enthusiastically involved in both local and International Students communities in different roles. He has been a representative, advocate and, voice of the International Students in NSW for the last three years. He is serving his second term as the CISA National Education Officer and contributed significantly towards the welfare and well-being of the International Students.

Arslan Kiyani

National Education Officer 

Council of International Students Australia (CISA).

Ayub Alam Khan is from Pakistan, after graduating from NED University in Pakistan with a degree in Telecommunications Engineering he realized the future of work will be in the techno-commercial world so he moved to Australia for his higher degree. Ayub is doing a Masters of Information Technology from Charles Sturt University Port Macquarie NSW, Australia. Ayub is the National Post Graduate Officer of CISA. Ayub found studying and living in a regional area was quite difficult to follow your passion but having support from his University and friends made it easier and has provided so many unexpected opportunities. Ayub has learnt a lot as the officer of the Council of International Students Australia (CISA), and is very proud to be elected President of the Charles Sturt International Student Association and to be able to share his passion for Charles Sturt as a Student Ambassador and the Port International student Club Adviser.

Ayub Alam Khan

National Postgraduate Officer

Council of International Students Australia

Julia Lambo has recently been appointed Head of Corporate Communications at Navitas Ltd, having previously driven improvements in the company’s internal communications approach. Her current role involves leading a small team to protect and enhance the reputation of Navitas as one of the world’s leading education providers.

Julia started her career in London at Bell Pottinger Communications and enjoyed various consultancy roles in public relations, market research and public affairs before moving ‘in house’ at Cable & Wireless where she headed up communications for its international division.

Before joining Navitas, and following the birth of her third child, Julia started The Little Feast Company in Perth, Australia. The Little Feast Company made and distributed healthy, handmade meals aimed at young families to over thirty supermarkets and directly to customers, in Western Australia.

Julia Lambo

Head of Corporate Communications

Navitas Ltd

Jane Li’s involvement in International Education started back in 2001 when she was an international student. Completing a Masters degree from the University of Wollongong, She began her career in the education industry in 2002 as a marketing and recruitment specialist promoting Australian education. This provided her the opportunity to travel extensively to Asian and Subcontinent countries to pursue her passion for helping international students realise their dream of studying in Australia.


Jane joined IDP in 2008 and is currently responsible for all areas of IDP’s onshore international student support and IELTS testing services. Jane and her dedicated onshore team are committed to providing international students the highest standard of service to support them through their journey in Australia.

Jane Li

Country Director Australasia


Belle serves as the National Women’s Officer at the Council of International Students Australia (CISA) on the 2018/19 executive committee. She represents female international students studying in the tertiary sector in conferences, roundtable discussions, expert advisory groups and in the media. With a vision to empower female international students and advance gender equity in the space of international education, Belle has designed and delivered several initiatives including CISA Tea Talk and the upcoming Future Female conference. Her current projects also include ChangemakHER – a network of emerging female leaders that lead with a social cause. All passionate women self-identified as females are welcome to join the network and attend the session Unshackling Changemak(HER)s.


Belle has obtained her degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences and honours as the recipient of Faculty Gold Medal and International Merit Scholarship at Monash University in 2017. She is currently studying her PhD in cancer research, focusing on genetic predisposition of breast cancer.

Belle Lim

National Women’s Officer

Council of International Students Australia (CISA) 

Craig is a principal in Nous’ Perth office who has led strategy and large-scale transformation initiatives in universities, government agencies and the private sector. Craig’s work with universities includes international growth strategy, education strategy and transformation, professional services redesign and university merger assessment.

Craig understands the needs of organisations facing discontinuous change and how to build a consensus for bold action across diverse teams. He focuses on helping highly regulated organisations transform their operating models to lift performance. He has 25 years of multi-sector and global strategy and transformation experience both as a consultant and as an industry executive.

Craig Knox Lyttle 


Nous Group Perth 

Before joining TEQSA as CEO in October 2015, Anthony McClaran was the Chief Executive of the UK’s Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) for six years (2009-2015) and prior to that the Chief Executive of the UK’s national agencies for higher education admissions, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) and the Graduate Teacher Training Registry (GTTR) between 2003 and 2009. 

Anthony has held several leadership positions in the higher education sector, including roles in the University of Warwick and the University of Hull. He was previously a member of the boards of the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) and the International Network of Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE).

 Anthony is a member of the Board and the Advisory Council of the US Council for HE Accreditation (CHEA) International Quality Group. He is a member of the Audit Committee of the Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB) and the Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (AUASB). In 2018 he served as a member of the National Review of Teacher Registration Expert Panel.

 Anthony held a number of governance appointments in the UK before moving to Australia in 2015 to take up his current position. He was Chair of Council and Pro-Chancellor of the University of Gloucestershire from 2007-2009, Deputy Chair of Governors at the John Lyon School and Chair of Governors at All Saints’ Academy.

Anthony McClaran

Chief Executive Officer


Mr Mahajan has been the Director of the Tuition Protection Service (TPS) since the TPS commenced on 1 July 2012.

Prior to taking up this appointment, Vipan was General Manager of the South and South East Asia and Scholarships Branch in the International Group of the Department of Education. Prior to that Vipan held senior executive positions with the Department of Defence and with Medicare Australia.

Vipan Mahajan


Tuition Protection Service (TPS)

Klara Major is the Stakeholder Engagement Officer for the Commonwealth Ombudsman’s Overseas Students Ombudsman function.

The Commonwealth Ombudsman:

  • can investigate complaints about problems that intending, current or former overseas students have with private schools, colleges and universities (education providers) in Australia

  • provides information about best practice complaints handling to help private education providers manage internal complaints effectively

  • publishes reports on problems and broader issues in international education that we identify through investigations.


The Ombudsman’s Office has investigated more than 1,000 complaints from international students, giving them a unique insight into the problems that international students can face, and what can be done about them.

Klara Major

Stakeholder Engagement Officer

Commonwealth Ombudsman’s Overseas Students Ombudsman Function.

Manfred Mletsin is the current Undergraduate and Public Relations Officer for the Council of International Students Australia. He has a passion for education and has been dynamically involved with the international education community for the past three years. Manfred knows how important it is for students to take care of their mental health and well-being and he wants to help students with the issues they are facing.

After finishing high school in Estonia, Manfred came to Australia to broaden his experience. After some time travelling in Australia, South East Asia and Europe, Manfred decided to return to Australia to study. He has been in Australia for five years now, three years as a student based in Darwin, Northern Territory. This has offered Manfred the opportunity to meet and network with other students locally and around the world, where he has discovered diverse cultures in a positive, supportive environment. 

Manfred Mletsin

Undergraduate and Public Relations Officer

Council of International Students Australia (CISA)

Rakhi Mukherjee, the current treasurer of the Council of International Students Australia (CISA), is a visionary and economist who has worked with the likes of NITI Aayog, the planning commission of the central government of Inida. She believes in the positive outcome of international education for the Australian economy. Rakhi currently holds her bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a master’s degree in International and Development Economics from The Australian National University. She has also managed a multi-million family business and leads the philanthropy division as part of the CSR of the company. Rakhi is a true believer of multiculturalism and a prodigy of the great capital of the world’s biggest democracy.

Rakhi Mukherjee


Council of International Students Australia (CISA)

Tomas O’Brien is Austrade’s Senior Adviser, Higher Education, and Employability. For the past eight years, Tomas has worked in Australian Government policy and program roles with a focus on international education. He has designed and implemented international student internship programs at the Australian Government Department of Education and Austrade. Before joining the Australian Public Service, Tomas worked as an adult educator, delivering training programs across youth, community services, and corporate settings. He holds a Bachelor of Adult Education (Honours) from the University of Technology, Sydney and in 2019, will complete a Masters of Comparative and International Education at the University of Sydney.

Tomas O'Brien

Senior Adviser, Higher Education and Employability


Tom O’Shea is the Executive Director of Strategic Engagement & Stakeholder Relations at the Fair Work Ombudsman, Australia’s workplace relations regulator.

As head of Strategic Engagement, Tom’s role is to ensure the Agency is at the cutting edge of contemporary Australian and global regulatory theory, dispute resolution practice and policy development.

Tom currently sits on the Fair Work Ombudsman’s Executive Board and, over recent years, has held senior roles with responsibility for leading strategic policy, communications, media and engagement functions within the workplace relations portfolio.

In his current role, Tom is leading the Fair Work Ombudsman to develop new and innovative engagement techniques to address the critical issues affecting migrant workers, their communities and the various impacts on the Australian community and economy. Tom also has overall responsibility for the Fair Work Ombudsman’s interactions with Small Business.

Tom oversees the FWO’s community engagement priorities, which include engagement with vulnerable groups and working in communities, such as Chinese and Korean communities, and with international students and other visa holders.

These responsibilities are fundamental to achieving the agency’s goal of “supporting compliant, productive and inclusive Australian workplaces”.

Tom O’Shea

Executive Director of Strategic Engagement & Stakeholder Relations

Fair Work Ombudsman

I am Dhanna, an international student from the Philippines. Currently thriving in my last year as a Master of Public Policy student at Charles Darwin University. In addition to that, I am affiliated to several organisations. I am part of Study NT as one of their student ambassadors for the second time, I am the incumbent Postgraduate Officer of Charles Darwin University Student Association, I am the State Coordinator (Mid-West) of Council of International Students Australia and the Executive Assistant to the CISA’s outgoing Postgraduate Officer. I have been experiencing the wonderful outback lifestyle in Darwin, Northern Territory for almost two years now. The Top End showcases most of its boundless possibilities during the dry season, and I have been fortunate enough to have experienced them first hand. By volunteering to the Arafura Games 2019, Territory Taste Festival 2019 and Harmony Day Soiree 2019
showcase where Study Northern Territory Team along with its ambassadors annually participates. Northern Territory is a place like no other in Australia; it’s a balance of natural tranquillity and urban development. More so, as my course requires I conducted few researches about the Education Industry in Australia, International Education Industry in Australia and Indigenous Health.

Anna Dhanna Ocampo

Study NT Student Ambassador

Robert Parsonson (Executive Officer, ISEAA) has 28 years in education and education export services, working within Australia and internationally. He is an expert on the development and execution of international student marketing strategies and offshore market entry. With experience in ELICOS, VET and higher education institutions, Rob’s ability to take novice businesses on their first foray into international markets and guide their journey to build sustainable long-term international student businesses is widely recognised.


Rob’s previous clients include StudyNSW, helping develop the IET Strategy for StudyNT, an education agency strategy for Study Queensland, and a VET study with education agents for the IEO of the SA Government.


In 2017 (in Melbourne) Rob facilitated the first education agent symposium in Australia – The Symposium on Leading Education Recruitment ( - that was repeated in Brisbane in 2018.  The symposium encouraged the formation of the International Student Education Agents Association (ISEAA) in 2018. The International Student Education Agents Association (ISEAA) was started to provide a peak body for education agents to advocate to government, peak bodies, providers and change some of the perceptions around the role education agents. Since the formation of ISEAA, education agents have given evidence to the Migration Committee in Canberra, and are actively engaging with DoE, DHA, Austrade, the office of the Overseas Students Ombudsman, and other international education peak bodies

Robert Parsonson

Executive Officer


Phil leads a team which, in collaboration with government, educational institutions and other stakeholders, provides a leadership role in building the profile of international education in Western Australia and overseas.
Prior to joining StudyPerth, Phil was employed by Murdoch University as the Director of External Engagement, where he managed a team of over 50 staff who were responsible for the recruitment and admission of students, both international and domestic.
From 2012 to 2014, Phil was the Vice President of Educational Partnerships at Murdoch University. In this role, he was responsible for transnational partnerships in Singapore, Malaysia and Dubai and the development and management of pathways and partnerships. In 2012, Phil was also appointed as the inaugural Chair of Murdoch Singapore, a subsidiary of Murdoch University and remained a Director of the Board until 2017.
Phil’s previous roles at Murdoch University included Pro Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences and the Peel Campus and Chief Executive Officer of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital.
Phil began his career in healthcare, in the UK then Australia, and has managed hospitals and a Medical School.

Phil Payne

Executive Director


NEAS Australia is a global leader in quality assurance for the English language teaching (ELT) sector. NEAS endorses English language centres in universities, colleges, high schools, independent ELICOS providers and online. As Chief Executive Officer, Patrick Pheasant brings enthusiasm and a healthy pragmatism to audiences he engages with. He has 20 years’ experience in applying drama, TESOL and teacher training methodologies across ELICOS, high school, vocational education, higher education and corporate sectors in Japan, the Netherlands, the United States and Australia. Patrick has held senior management positions in international education for 20 years and has extensive experience in change management, including a graduate management qualification from the Australian Graduate School of Management. His recent PhD research at the University of Sydney is in using process drama in TESOL. Patrick is a past Vice-President of the University English Centres of Australia (UECA) and past Convenor of the NEAS Advisory Council.

Patrick Pheasant

Chief Executive Officer

NEAS Australia

Benjamin is passionate about connecting cultures and helping people transform their lives through learning and student engagement. Originally from Colombia, he firmly believes that education is the most potent weapon for changing the world. This is the reason why Ben has spent the past years working to provide support to those who believe in a multicultural educated society, and now decided to join CISA, to take his ideas to a country-wide level as the National Secretary. Currently, Ben is pursuing his last year of Bachelor of Accounting at Charles Darwin University, where he was elected as the 2019 President of the Students’ Association and the Student Representative on the CDU Council. He is also the Student Representative in the Northern Territory International Education and Training Industry Group, and a StudyNT, CPA and CDU Student Ambassador. In terms of employment, Ben has worked in several organisations mainly focused on the needs of students. Initially working in real estate specialising in student accommodation with providers such as UniLodge, he has since dived into a more prominent role in the education sector with organisations like Navitas where he holds the position of Student Services Manager. Ben believes attitude is more important than intellect. Being a big dreamer and an absolute goals achiever, he says with confidence that "If you are determined to achieve something, no one can stop you"; “Believe, Amazing Things Are Coming!”. Ben is also the winner of the 2018 StudyNT International Student of the Year Award

Benjamin Poveda-Alfonso

National Secretary

Council of International Students Australia (CISA)

Sharon is a driven and dedicated international student from Mumbai, India. She has recently finished a Master of Information and Communications Technology (Advanced) at the Western Sydney University.

Sharon embraced the opportunity to participate in the November 2017 cohort of an award- winning Work Integrated Learning Global Scope program delivered by Practera supported by Study NSW, which engages teams of university students to deliver short-term business projects to a range of clients. Sharon then completed an internship with Practera, which progressed to a part-time Customer Success Specialist role and now transitioned to a full-time Programs Coordinator/ Quality Assurance Engineer role.

A wonderful advocate for studying in New South Wales, Sharon has eagerly shared her story with others including a presentation at the 2018 Council of International Student Australia conference. Sharon has passionately supported ‘The NSW International Student Business Charter’ a StudyNSW initiative, by sharing her story and international student experience. Sharon further shared her success story with the Careers team at WSU been able to share the importance of Work Integrated Learning Programs in the University’s curriculum and is now delivering Global Scope to 500 international and domestic students at Western Sydney University across 2019. In addition to emceeing the 2018 NSW International Students Awards, Sharon was honoured as the ‘Highly Commended Individual for the 2018 Vice Chancellor’s Award in University Engagement and Sustainability’ that recognises student's contribution in Western Sydney University's engagement and sustainability, and promotes programs and activities that have a positive impact on the university, community and businesses. In addition, Sharon was also recognised as an Outstanding Mentor for going above and beyond in the Western Sydney University's MATES mentoring program that aims to support the transition and retention of commencing international students facilitating confidence and skills in adjusting to university life.  Sharon also volunteers to train, teach, mentor to foster the spiritual growth of teenager kids within her community that keeps her motivated and driven.

Sharon strongly believes that success is defined by one’s attitude, which is strengthened by the power of listening, speaking, believing and reasoning.

Sharon Roy

Study NSW

Hello, my name is Keon Simmons and I study a bachelor of Paramedics at Flinders University in South Australia. I was born in North Carolina but raised in Washington DC. I came to this wonderful country 5 years ago and fell in love with the vibes and culture of Australia, Australia is a very welcoming country. I have had the honour of serving international students on a campus level at Flinders Uni were one of my biggest projects for the 2017-2018 School year was setting up a weekly market. The university now sees approximately 370 students weekly. The feedback received puts me in tears. This year I have had the honour to serve international students as the National Equity Officer. I have enjoyed every moment of being a student leader. This year I have enjoyed speaking at the Universities Australia conference on international student mental health. I am a very passionate person about student mental health. My time as a student leader I noticed that international students across the country are being denied basic human rights. I was a co-founder of the Flinders University markets, so every Thursday, we see many international students coming to the markets to get cheaper foods and free fresh produce. Everyone no matter your background has a right to live a healthy and poverty free life and together we can make this dream and reality.

So, I encourage you all to go back home and get involved.

I leave you with a quote:

First, they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Martin Niemoller

Keon Sydney

National Equity Officer

Council of International Students Australia (CISA)

Ralph is an award winning ambassador for international education. A creative visionary, with a  a predilection for engaging in extraordinarily meaningful conversations. He is responsible for convening this year's National Conference, along with managing corporate partnerships, stakeholder engagement, and the development of the Strategic Framework 2022 for the Council. Prior to being elected as the National Vice President, he was an appointed Student Ambassador to the City of Brisbane, Student Success Advisor at the Queensland University of Technology, and was a certified mentor at the QUT International College. A nursing graduate, Ralph aims to consolidate his grass-roots health work, with his international education experience, to position a career directed towards influencing positive change for youth, leadership, and cross cultural engagement. 

He received the CISA Undergraduate International Student of the Year 2018, and was a top 4 finalist for the Outstanding Young Achiever Award of the Queensland Multicultural Awards 2018. 

Ralph Teodoro

National Vice President

Council of International Students Australia (CISA)

Mohit Trivedi is the Student Engagement Manager at Study Gold Coast. He is an alumnus of Sothern Cross University, having graduated in 2016. He is most passionate about creating positive change in the quality of student life and the overall student experience by way of curating meaningful, holistic and end to end student engagement initiatives. Mo will share the key findings and trends from the Gold Coast Student Hub to highlight the role it plays and how it offers support to students in an unfortunate case of a regulatory closure of an education institution. Having been an international student in Australia, Mo can add value to this conversation from an international student perspective as well as from an industry standpoint. 

Mohit Trivedi

Student Engagement Officer

Study Gold Coast

Kerry is representing Torrens University Australia (part of Laureate International Universities) as the National Student Support Manager.  In this role, Kerry supports Torrens and Think Education students across Australia and New Zealand through her work in the areas of Disability and Indigenous support, Counselling, Student Safety, and Diversity.  She commenced her career teaching Secondary English and French in both Canada and Hong Kong before taking on English language program management.  After many years in Hong Kong, Kerry and her family moved to Perth where she started work as Dean of the University of Western Australia Foundation Program for Study Group and subsequently management roles in International and Student Experience at Curtin University.  Kerry has been with Laureate since her relocation to Sydney in early 2018.

Kerry Valentine

National Student Support Manager

Torrens University Australia

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Sally Varnham is Professor of Law, University of Technology Sydney.  Sally is a New Zealander and has an LLB and LLM from VUW and a PhD from the University of New South Wales. 

Since moving to UTS in 2007, Sally has served as a Student Ombud, Chair of Academic Board (2010-2014), and an elected member of the University Council (2015-2018).

Sally researches law and policy in education and is widely published in Australia and abroad.   She is co-editor of “Higher Education and the Law” (Federation, 2015), co-author of “Law for Educators: School and University Law in Australia” (LexisNexis, 2007) and has chapters in several US, UK and Australian books. 

Sally is deeply committed to the centrality of effective authentic engagement of student voice in all matters from learning and teaching to university governance.  In 2015 she was awarded an OLT Strategically Commissioned Priority grant for a project:  Student Engagement in University Decision-Making and Governance: towards a more systemically inclusive student voice.   She is currently a National Senior Teaching Fellow and her Fellowship is entitled: Creating a National Framework for Student Partnership in University Decision-Making and Governance.  In 2017 she undertook a national sector-wide collaboration which resulted in Students and Tertiary Education Providers Undertaking Partnership (STEPUP for quality enhancement).  This led to the establishment of the Student Voice Australia Pilot Project which has ten participant institutions

Professor Sally Varnham

Professor of Law

University of Technology Sydney

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Dr John Wellard is Policy Director International at Universities Australia, where he has responsibility for developing and coordinating policy and services in support of the Australian university sector’s international engagement activities. Prior to this John was the Counsellor for the Australian National University at the Embassy of Australian Washington D.C. where he was responsible for fostering new opportunities and supporting existing relationships between the ANU, North American universities and other institutions, policy makers and opinion leaders. John has held senior administrative positions within the University sector and has served time as a policy advisor in the Australian Government and held academic positions in Australia, the United Kingdom and Germany.

Dr John Wellard BSc (Latrobe), Grad Dip Sci (ANU), PhD (ANU)

Universities Australia

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Kylie is an eternal optimist, but is constantly reminded that life doesn’t follow a plan. A lawyer by training, Kylie has worked both in the corporate and pro-bono space, and volunteers as the Board Chair of a women and children's domestic violence refuge. Constantly striving to create harmony and cohesion while being an ambitious working parent, and having experienced a redundancy while on maternity leave and the death of her husband when she was 30 years old, Kylie relates on a personal level.
Through the power of storytelling, Kylie aims to inspire and facilitate communication by talking openly
about these matters, that affect us all. Her insightful and humorous anecdotes are drawn from the
classroom, boardroom, bathroom (because there's no privacy when you have a two year old!), hospital,
mud floors in Africa, dingy bars in London - and on top of a bar on Sir Richard Branson's Necker Island!
Sometimes all you need is a fresh perspective, which Kylie delivers in spades.
Kylie's first book, Memories are Forever, will be published in late 2019.

Kylie Wilkie

Lawyer and Author


The Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA) is the peak body representing independent providers in the higher education, vocational education and training sector.  Appointed to the role in late 2018, Troy has worked with the ITECA Board, members and stakeholders across government to strengthen the organisation’s capability to support its members and represent the entire independent tertiary education system.  This included the transition from the Australian Council for Private Education and Training (ACPET) to ITECA, reflecting a stronger focus on industry leadership, policy advocacy and member engagement.


An established leader of industry associations across professional bodies and industry associations, he’s held senior roles with the Australian Dental Industry Association (ADIA), the Fire Protection Association Australia (FPA Australia) and the Australian Institute of Building (AIB).  He was made an AIB Life Fellow in recognition of exemplary services as Chief Executive.


Troy currently serves on the General Council of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), and as an industry appointee to a number of Australian Government committees. He has served as a Director of the former Property Services ITAB and the Property Services GTO. He’s a fellow of the Australian Institute of Managers and Leaders, and a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.


Troy is an experienced policy advocate with an established network of contacts across the political spectrum, and he has a highly nuanced approach to evidence-based policy development. Troy has a long career with membership-based organisations, where he has emphasised member engagement and collaborative partnerships.

Troy Williams

Chief Executive

Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia