Global Speakers


Damian Giuffre

Director of Digital Futures

IP Australia

Damian is passionate about delivering innovative customer focussed solutions and, as a Senior Director within IP Australia’s Innovation and Technology Group, is leading the  enhancement of customer facing transactional systems and interaction platforms – including IP Australia’s virtual Assistant “Alex”.

A 10 year career in the Intellectual Property domain, Damian has significant public sector leadership experience across customer operations, business transformation and IT delivery functions. An experienced project manager Damian has delivered major internal and customer facing initiatives.

Damian is leading the strategic redevelopment of key digital assets and digital channels to align with IP Australia’s ICT strategy.


David Dean

Machine Learning Specialist


Dr David Dean is passionate about developing state-of-the-art machine-learning algorithms and turning them into real systems that improve the lives of everyone. He has 14 years of research and development experience with machine-learning and artificial intelligence at Queensland University of Technology, the University of Queensland, as well as a number of exciting ML health start-ups. Now working with TAFE NSW Digital, David is push the use of AI and ML to improve the learning experience for vocational training across the entirety of TAFE NSW.


Mark Baartse

Chief Marketing Officer


An experienced online leader, Mark built his first website in 1993. Since then, he has worked as a marketing manager, project manager, programmer, information architect, usability consultant, and copywriter. This gives him an unusually broad view of website management.

Mark’s passion is making online experiences profitable by focusing on users – in a way that measurably and demonstrably adds value to both the user and the business. Mark has excellent skills in online strategy, and expert tactical skills in several key channels including search, analytics, content marketing, and conversion rate optimization. He has been called on to speak on these at leading industry conferences, and teach in structured classroom environments for industry associations.

Mark also has extensive experience in attracting and retaining top talent, having managed teams for almost 20 years.


Irina Hayward

Head of Digital & Direct Strategy

BMF Australia

Irina is an accomplished B2C/B marketing professional with over 19 years broad financial marketing experience, client and agency side including: strategic planning, interactive marketing across full channel mix with key focus on ROI.

She specialises in digital & social effectiveness including customer contact framework and segmentation strategy and strongly driven by customer insights through testing and integrated channel optimisation.


Kshira Saagar

Head of Analytics and Data Science


Kshira Saagar has been with the Analytics/Decision Sciences industry for almost a decade now having worked across Americas, Asia, Europe and more importantly Australia. The bulk of his work has been focussed on developing solutions for the Analytics problem spaces of the Retail, Telecom and Insurance marketing departments at some of the leading Fortune 100 clients. In his other roles, he has enabled decision making through data for clients from the Media, Healthcare, Aviation, Logistics and FMCG organisations.

In his current role at The Iconic, as the Head of Analytics and Data Sciences, he’s responsible for understanding and enabling data driven decision making. Previously at Datalicious & prior to that at Fairfax, he was responsible for institutionalising data-driven analytics across the company’s core competencies and building new-age analytical products for the organisation.


Darren Woolley

Founder & Global CEO

TrinityP3 Marketing Management

Darren is considered a thought leader on all aspects of marketing management. A Problem Solver, Negotiator, Founder & Global CEO of TrinityP3 – Marketing Management Consultants, solving the six major challenges facing marketing. He is also a founding member of the Marketing FIRST Forum and Author and Past-Chair of the Australian Marketing Institute, Ex-Medical Scientist and Ex-Creative Director. And in his spare time he sleeps.


Markoss Martina

Head of Customer Success and Enablement

Eclair Group

Markoss has more than 10 years’ experience within Financial Service Industries. He worked for multiple top 30 global banks on global and regional level. He has held multiple Senior Management positions within the Transformation & Automation as well as in operational role.

He set up from scratch, designed, developed, lead and managed Robotics and Cognitive Automation (AI & Machine Learning) Strategies, Business Units, Approaches and Programs for multiple top 30 global banks.

He led, set-up, and managed large-scale multi-million dollar transformation & Automation programs.

He leads large business units, managed costs and ensured that business unit objectives are delivered.

Markoss is currently engaged with Eclair Group. Eclair combines cutting-edge technology with an innovative service offering to collaborate with our clients in realizing the transformative benefit from automation.


Paul Rybicki

Country Head for Datasparks Australia


Paul Rybicki is running SingTel’s DataSpark business in Australia. DataSpark is a big data analytics company that generates insights about how people move using telco data. Prior to this role, Paul headed up TV & Content at Optus, where he led content acquisition and OTT, TV and video content delivery across Optus’ mobile and fixed network platforms.  Highlights include the purchase of the Premier League for the Australian market, launching the first 24/7 premier league and the first 24/7 cricket channel as well as the launch of an OTT platform.

Paul has previously worked in a range of other senior roles, including Head of Insights at News Corp-owned Pay TV operators in the UK and Australia. Paul also spent a decade in Europe and the Asia Pacific, where he was a strategy consultant for Capgemini, supporting a number of telco and media clients, including the launch of a mobile operator in Bulgaria.


Nicholas Thelkersen-Terry

CEO and Co-founder


Nicholas Therkelsen-Terry co-founded Max Kelsen in 2015 to provide big data and machine learning services to clients large and small. In his position as CEO, Nick is responsible for designing and executing strategic vision, project design and management, fiscal and legal governance, and team building. Prior to this, Nick was consulting for companies across a range of industries to assist with their technology requirements. Nick holds a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Economics from the University of Queensland.

Nick has a broad range of expertise spanning business, economics, sales, management and law. Nick has a deep theoretical and applied understanding of cutting-edge machine learning techniques, and has been widely recognised as a domain expert in this field. He is a regular speaker at artificial intelligence meetups around the country, and also at conferences such as Gartner ITXPO, NSW Gov DC, Urbanity and IBM Think 2018.

Nick also co-founded CityShape in 2016, an application focused on aggregating property development planning data and serves as its CTO. Likewise, in 2017, Nick co-founded cognitiveCX, a platform for enterprises to analyse and process unstructured data from any source.


Savonne Wadsworth

Digital Service Manager, Customer Operations


Savonne has successfully developed digital platforms, which support the overall customer experience strategy. Throughout Trustpower’s digital journey, Savonne has placed strong emphasis on channel integration, leveraging sentiment analysis and analytics to map customer behaviour.  Savonne strongly believes that the future for a digital customer experience is by providing quality conversations through incorporating AI to deliver personalised data, increasing deflection rates, along with the support of automation to reduce cost to serve.


Steven Merchant

Manager Customer Experience, Customer Operations


Steve brings extensive leadership and customer service expertise to the Customer Experience Manager role at Trustpower. Steve recognise’s that high quality, multi-channel and personalised customer service is a strong differentiator in the competitive telecommunications and energy sectors and that customers’ expectations of  connectivity and convenience are increasing exponentially. Previously, Steve has held senior roles in banking, local government and telecommunications, always with a customer service focus and across contact centre and retail environments.


Anu Kukar

Director Risk Innovation


Anu brings 17 years of experience across Risk & Compliance management, Governance, Regulatory, Internal Audit, Management Consulting and Tax. She has worked across many industries: Insurance, Bank, Government, Manufacturing, Energy and Telecommunications.

Anu is currently focussed on Risk Innovation, designing and developing new business risk & compliance solutions for new business risks, new ways of doing business and emerging technologies.

She has assisted clients and worked hands-on in industry to identify risks and build solutions to manage them across all types of financial and non- financial risks. The work Anu and her team did around advanced risk management was awarded an Australian Bank CEO Employee of the year award.

Anu is a graduate from Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD), a Chartered Accountant (ICAANZ) and holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting and Information Systems (UNSW).


Kelly Slessor

CEO & Founder

Shop You

Kelly Slessor CEO and founder of Shop You is a Digital Retail Strategist specialising in mobile. Kelly began her career with British Telecom, the UK’s largest telecommunications provider. Kelly has spent her career understanding consumer behaviour, simplifying technology and designing the future based on insights and research to drive results for retailers. She has extensive experience working with major clients including Westfield, Woolworths, Fairfax, Showpo, Big W, Suncorp bank, Le Specs, and LendLease right through to SMEs.


Rowena Millward

Director of Client Partnerships

Seven West Media

Rowena is globally respected marketing leader with roles for Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, Berri, and 16 years with Johnson & Johnson where she was responsible for global marketing & digital transformation, as well as Asia Pacific Vice President for the Vision care businesses.


David Morgan



David is one of the world’s most senior and experienced marketing professionals with over 30 years global marketing leadership for companies including; Procter & Gamble, Citibank, Samsung, Standard Chartered Bank, Nestle.


Ivan Chua

CEO, Chairman & Co-Founder


Ivan Chua is the CEO and cofounder of Ximple, a healthcare AI company that develops artificial intelligence technologies to address industry-wide market failures in the disability and aged care industries caused by major reforms in the consumer-directed care model. Outside of Ximple, Ivan teaches IT innovation in the master’s programme at the University of Sydney; leads a team of researchers, engineers and doctors at Vascular Access Robotics in the development of the world’s first portable and fully-automated peripheral IV cannulation device; and advises the executive team at the Center for Artificial Intelligence Development — a think tank in AI.


Somarjun Chandolu

Chief Technology Officer


Somarjun Chandolu is the CTO of Ximple, a healthcare AI company that develops artificial intelligence technologies in the disability and aged care industries. Somarjun leads a team of engineers in the development of the company’s core technologies in information retrieval and artificial intelligence. Outside of Ximple, Somarjun is involved in a research project at the University of Sydney that leverages on technology to address the problem of a lack of global consensus for chronic kidney disease education with a standardisation of patient-education system.


Jodie Sangster

CMO AI Program Leader


Jodie Sangster is IBM’s new CMO AI Program Leader. Prior to IBM, Jodie was the CEO of The Alliance for Data Leadership (AADL), the Association for Data-driven Marketing and Advertising (ADMA), the Institute for Analytics Professionals of Australia (IAPA), Digital + Technology Collective (DTC) and Data Governance Australia (DGA). Jodie’s extensive experience in the fields of global data-driven marketing and advertising spans over 20 years and includes experience throughout the US, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

Jodie also chairs the Global Alliance of Data-Driven Marketing Associations, GDMA, a consortium of 27 data-driven marketing associations around the world with a mandate to advance and champion responsible global marketing and advertising.


Paul van der Linden

Co-founder & Director


As an energetic technologist, Paul has a passion for finding innovative solutions that deliver the best possible outcomes for organisations, both small and large. He has a particular interest in chat bots, Natural Language Processing (NLP) and emerging AI technologies, including voice only interfaces, the use of avatars in virtual assistants and Audio Feature Extraction.

Paul co-founded outThought with a mission to make virtual assistants and chat bots, AI and NLP systems accessible to companies of any size. Using its own Virtual Assistant Platform, built on best-of-breed AI technologies such as IBM Watson, outThought delivers virtual assistants to organisations in retail, financial services and the public sector, to cost effectively provide exceptional customer experiences that drive revenue growth and cost savings.

Paul has previously led the IBM Watson architecture group for Australia & New Zealand and has been recognised as one of IBM’s top technical leaders. He has hands-on experience delivering systems including chat bots, machine learning, natural language processing, deep Learning, information management systems and immersive simulators.


William Yeoh

Director for IBM Centre of Excellence in Business Analytics

Deakin University Australia

Dr William Yeoh is the Director for IBM Centre of Excellence in Business Analytics at Deakin University Australia. His main research interests include Business Intelligence and Analytics, AI, Data Mining, Information Quality, Enterprise Systems, Cloud Computing & Crowdsourcing. His research are supported by various funding bodies and have appeared in high-tier journals (A* & A journals) and top five IS conferences (eg. ICIS). Dr Yeoh has won numerous awards including the 2017 ICT Educator of the Year Gold Award (awarded by the Australian Computer Society ACS – the Australia’s premier ICT professional association), internationally-competitive IBM Faculty Award that rarely bestowed on Australian-based academics, Deakin’s Vice-Chancellor Award, and Faculty Excellence in Research Award.


Tom Glover

Strategy Director


Tom Glover is passionate about helping local and international brands find their Voice in a digital landscape. Tom leads the strategy and delivery teams within VERSA, Australia’s first enterprise-level Voice experience agency. Founded in 2017, VERSA is an agency that delivers world-class Voice experiences across Alexa and Google Assistant.

Looking forward, Tom is excited about giving more brands a voice whilst leading the adoption of Voice as an industry in Australia.


Heath Adams

Director and Co-Founder


Director and Co-Founder of CognitiveCX & CEO of Dapresy Australasia.

CognitiveCX is a Customer Experience insights and management platform powered by artificial intelligence. The CongitiveCX AI platform unlocks the value of unstructured data or ‘dark data’. Breaking down the information silos that exist in all organisations CognitiveCX provides a single view of the customer.

As a Director and CEO Heath is responsible for guiding and running all facets of the businesses. Heath has a proven executive management track record and over 20 years experience driving sales growth across a broad range of industries. Before CognitiveCX and Dapresy Heath was a Director at a boutique market research company that specialised in VoC programs. Heath believes strongly that a single view of the customer can only be achieved by combining the silos of information that exist both externally and internally to the organisation.


Babar Jan-Haleem

Head of Asia Pacific - Big Data Analytics | AI | ML Segment

Amazon Web Services

Babar heads the APAC Big Data Analytics & AI Segment for Amazon Web Services responsible for driving AWS solution initiatives across APAC region. His professional experience is in Big Data Analytics & Data-warehousing field for over 19 years in United States & APAC including GC and Japan. Before being relocated to APAC, Babar provided technical consulting expertise to Fortune 500 organizations in the US in EDW & Business Analytics arena thus has a deep technical architecture background with focus on business outcomes. Prior to joining Amazon family, Babar headed APAC Big Data & Analytics Specialist practice for Oracle for over 11 years.

He is passionate about the immense value Big Data Analytics & Artificial Intelligence solutions offer and how they are being leveraged by the organization to generate value. His undergraduate and MBA studies in the US are in Information Systems and Mathematics. Based out of Australia, in his current role, Babar maintains a close working relationship with AWS HQ development & product management organizations giving him direct insight into solution product roadmap & strategy and inner workings of solutions. He is a strategic thinker with the ability to clearly articulate long-term strategies for organizations embarking on strategic data-driven cloud initiatives while overcoming mission critical challenges.


Cheok Funn Lee

Digital Product Owner

National Australia Bank

Cheok is the Digital Product Owner for virtual assistants at National Australia Bank. As one of the first employees of NAB Labs, NAB’s innovation hub, Cheok has spent most of his career pushing a large, complex, heavily-regulated organisation to innovate and adapt to the ever-increasing pace of the current environment where NAB competes with not only traditional players but also much smaller and more agile Fintechs.

Cheok is a strong believer in the shift towards conversational interfaces and the power of virtual assistants to drive better customer experiences as well as commercial outcomes. He is currently the product owner for the NAB Facebook Messenger virtual assistant, Google Assistant app, and Amazon Alexa skill.


Dr. Ian Tho

Executive Director

Azurium Analytics, Ferrier Hodgson

Dr. Tho has over 2 and a half decades of experience with a wide range of organizations in Australia, Asia, and the United States. He is the global lead for customer analytics at Azurium Analytics, the consulting arm of Ferrier Hodgson. Immediately prior, Ian was the Head of Analytics for Coles (Wesfarmers Group) where he was intimately involved with developing insights for Coles using data from over 24 m Australians. He has worked with include iconic brands, and most recently with Country Road, JB Hifi, KMart, Target, Bunnings, Blue Illusions, Shell and Sandvik Global Mining. Dr. Tho has extensive experience in fast moving consumer retail analytics, risk analytics with banking and in healthcare, developing patient care outcomes with both government and private, tertiary care healthcare providers whilst working with Deloitte Consulting and Accenture. He has a special interest in semiotics and holds a Ph.D. in actuarial risk, an MBA (strategic marketing), and a Bachelor of Engineering from the University of Melbourne.


Joe Milward

Innovation Manager


As a Senior Digital Strategist for 3M Australia, Joe is charged with identifying innovative ways to utilise digital solutions in order to build a customer first relationship for the business.

With extensive experience working in the media, technology and animation industry for over 15 years, Joe currently places his focus on identifying new trends in digital media, from mobile to social media, and the rise of Augmented and Virtual Reality.

Joe has been spearheading the strategic direction for Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality scene with a global working team as 3M begins to explore this new medium.


Lisa Bouari

Director & Co-Founder


Lisa is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of outThought, who design, deliver and host Intelligent Virtual Assistants on their cloud platform, built on IBM Watson technology, to organisations in Retail, Financial Services and the Public Sector.

Lisa has been awarded Architect of the year twice in Asia Pacific by IBM for outstanding achievements and has over 15 years experiences in the design and execution of solutions and strategies in the analytics and cognitive computing spaces.

As a regular panellist, speaker and chairperson at industry events, Lisa is across the current trends, pitfalls and direction that the current Virtual Assistant market is forging and is at the forefront of technology and solutions making it happen.

Energetic and fun to work with, Lisa thrives on helping organizations transform their customer service, and capture new revenue generating opportunities via the productive use and best practice approach to successful Virtual Assistant execution.


Robert Kinkade



Robert Kinkade specializes in helping large organizations accelerate customer experience and digital transformation. Robert has hands-on startup experience and previously led EY’s Digital Operations Practice across the Asia Pacific, and led Accenture’s Digital Customer Practice for Australia and New Zealand.

Robert has worked in retail, consumer, travel, automotive, financial services, insurance and public sectors. He has been recognized as one of the top omnichannel leaders in Australia by helping senior leaders develop winning strategies and transformations to embrace the changing tech landscape – moving from being digitally disrupted to disruptor.

Robert is a co-founder of CX360 – A specialist organization helping large enterprise clients transform customer experience across people, process, tech, and culture.


Tim Rich

Head of Marketing

Toyota Financial Services

Tim Rich is Head of Marketing at Toyota Financial Services, Australia’s leading automotive financial services brand. A commercially minded senior marketing professional with a focus on marketing investment efficiency and organizational value add Tim and his team is responsible for managing the customer experience, digital, brand and marketing communication functions across Toyota’s automotive Finance, Insurance and Fleet categories. Within one of the most dynamic industry segments, financial services are increasingly being used to enhance the automotive customer experience.

He has over 20 years experience in senior marketing executive roles. Prior to joining Toyota Financial Services, Tim worked for leading brands including Telstra, Sony, Electrolux and Toyota Motor Corporation Australia. Tim’s experience with Toyota included 3 years with the parent company in Tokyo, Japan. This unique Toyota automotive experience has embedded the ‘Toyota Way’ and Kaizen managerial approach into Tim’s business DNA.


Will Scully-Power

Co-Founder & CEO


Will is the Co-Founder & CEO of Pascal, a software company that helps organisations understand their customers better and make decisions faster using AI & machine learning. Will also serves on the board of Datarati, Asia-Pacific’s digital transformation & customer journey agency as well as Data Scouts, Australia’s most sought after digital transformation training and recruitment company.

Will started the Eloqua (Oracle Marketing Cloud) software business and the Marketo software business in the Asia-Pacific region, building out the marketing, sales, service and training teams and was responsible for the rapid revenue growth for both businesses across Australia & New Zealand. As a lead course facilitator and subject matter expert in the digital transformation industry, Will is a highly sought after guest speaker at industry events and for executive boards and senior leadership teams on the topic of successful digital transformation.