Global Speakers


Dr Thomas Hedegaard Rasmussen

General Manager People Analytics, Insights & Experience

National Australia Bank

Dr. Thomas Hedegaard Rasmussen joined NAB 2017 as General Manager People Analytics, Insights & Experience. Thomas has previously been VP HR Data & Analytics at Shell, and held various HR roles at A.P. Moller-Maersk. He received his M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Aarhus, Denmark, where he was Alum of the year 2016, still does research for fun, e.g. his papers on HR Analytics in Organizational Dynamics co-authored with Dave Ulrich (2015) and in Journal of Organizational Effectiveness co-authored with Jorrit van der Togt (2017), and his main interest is bridging management science with practical application, showing the importance of people in value chains. Thomas believes that data and evidence should supplement business understanding, experience and intuition in decision making on people issues, and that this will enable businesses to deliver more value to customers, shareholders and employees.


Kate Green

Head of Food Academy

Woolworths Group

Kate Green commenced her career in Retail and HR in the UK working for Asda-Walmart in roles varying from buying, store management and HR. Since joining Woolworths in 2009, Kate has held HR roles across the Corporate Teams, Buying & Strategy and most recently the role of State HR Manager for NSW/ACT. Kate commenced in the new role of Head of Woolworths Food Academy, leading the Learning and Development function for the business. Kate is passionate about ensuring HR strategies are built in collaboration with business leaders and clearly drive the overall business strategy. Kate’s strengths are business partnering and developing high performance cultures through role clarity, development and diverse teams.


Xavier Joiner

Workforce Insights Lead

BAE Systems Australia

Xavier Joiner commenced with BAE Systems in 2014 and is currently the Workforce Insights Lead. This role focuses on understanding HR related business problems and provides actionable people insights using data to ultimately enable more confident decision making.

Xavier has an extensive business background working for a number of global organisations in a variety of HR and business improvement related roles. He is particularly passionate about evidence based HR and getting the balance right between experience/intuition and good quality objective thinking.


Michelle Fenwick

Executive Director of People & Culture

Northern Health

Michelle is the Executive Director, People & Culture, at Northern Health, which is a public hospital located in the ‘latest growth corridor of Melbourne’s North’.  It has an expected local population growth of 64% by 2031.  The population growth has a direct impact on the hospitals clinical workforce that it needs to attract to service the healthcare needs of the community.

Michelle proactively assesses today’s workforce challenges in order to clarify and articulate current and future health service needs and identify optimum pathways towards bridging the gap.  As the population grows within the northern growth corridor, more demand is placed on services such as healthcare not just in the number of patients presenting to the service but the types of patient acuity change resulting in the need for different types of clinicians to be sourced.

She has worked within the public and private sector in senior human resource position’s, specializing in strategic HR planning to proactively assess today’s workforce needs and plan for future workforce needs.

She has a Masters in Human Resource Management & Industrial Relations and is currently undertaking her Doctorate, Research Topic: ‘Casualization of the Australian Nursing Workforce and the impact on Hospital Management’.


Cara Reil

Group Director HR

SAI Group

Cara joined GWA Group Limited in November 2017, as the Group General Manager, People and Performance. She has 20 years of broad-based and specialist HR experience across various industries. She spent a large part of her HR career working outside of US, especially in Asia where she has lived in both Singapore and Australia. Cara started her career with United Technologies Corporation (UTC) in the US and spent eleven years managing regional and global HR functions in various businesses in the UTC Group. She then moved to RBS as the Regional Head of Organizational Effectiveness for Asia, was the Director of Talent and Leadership at AMP in Australia as well as the Vice President for Talent and Management Development for the Singtel Group based in Singapore.   Prior to joining GWA, Cara was the Group Director, Human Resources for SAI Global based in Sydney.

Cara holds a Master of Science (Major in Human Resource Management) from the Krannert Graduate School of Management, Purdue University and a  Bachelor of Arts (Major in Psychology) from the University of Denver.


Josephine Palermo

General Manager Engagement & Change Management


Making a difference in organisations and communities is Josephine Palermo’s passion. With a PhD in Organisational Psychology and numerous publications in areas of quality enhancement, cultural change, coaching and leadership, she uses an informed, energetic and hands on approach to create lasting change in people, processes, and total systems. Key responsibilities in her current role at Telstra are the development of integrated change management plans to support the rollout and embedding of key strategic programs; driving scaled advocacy / customer experience change programs, design and management of key leadership development events and communications strategy for Telstra Operation’s 400 strong leadership group. Current projects include leading a $5 million program building leading edge technological capability that will put network performance visibility in the hands of our enterprise customers .

Prior to consulting in corporations, Josephine worked as a lecturer and consultant for various universities in Victoria. She has a very natural coaching and teaching style and is a mentor to many of graduates. She has extensive experience across higher education and public health industries, designing and implementing large scale change and process improvement programs, and lived and worked in the Sultanate of Oman for the Minister of Higher Education on a quality assurance program for the nation, that is still referenced today. Josephine describes herself as a Renaissance woman. As well as pursuing achievements in business and the academy over the last two decades, she has also had success in the arts, with a professional career in cultural dance and an extensive performance track record that is still active today.


Andrew Douglas

Managing Principal

FCW Lawyers

Andrew, the National Head of Macpherson Kelley’s Workplace Relations team, is a highly sought after Workplace professional within Australia, New Zealand and Asia. His proactive approach to understanding ever changing Employment, IR and OHS laws ensures his clients are always one step ahead of their competition. Working with a number of employers, Andrew builds wellbeing programs that improve employee health and productivity whilst reducing worker’s compensation premiums.

Andrew is a skilled author and seasoned speaker across Australia, New Zealand and throughout Asia, Andrew writes and presents about workplace law issues such as: industrial relations, equal opportunity, OHS, privacy, social media, surveillance and workers’ compensation. Andrew works with clients to build workplace law competency through a range of bespoke training programs.


Rohan Dyster

General Manager Organizational Development & Learning

The Star Entertainment

Rohan is the General Manager Organisational Development & Learning for The Star Entertainment Group, based in Sydney. His role covers learning & development, diversity & inclusion, performance management, talent strategy, employee engagement, strategic workforce planning and similar areas. Since joining The Star in 2012, Rohan has grown the learning & development function to provide interventions to cover off four key areas – leadership, guest experience, compliance and technical skills.


Raelene Barry

Deputy General Manager – Executive Manager of HR

Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre

Raelene Barry’s career in the service and hospitality industry spans over 30 years.  For the first 15 years, working in operational roles, leading and managing service departments in a hotel/casino environment shaped the path for the future.  The past 15 years have been in senior HR roles with a focus on Industrial Relations and all aspects of people management in 2 iconic Gold Coast properties.  The past 12 years at the GCCEC have been exciting and challenging as the Executive Manager – HR and also the Deputy General Manager since 2007.

Raelene has attained her MBA in 2011, completing a thesis on employment engagement, she also has a diploma in management, and has been honoured with 2 awards recognising her leadership and management skills and experience.  AHRI HR Leader of the Year for Qld in 2008 and the AIM Professional Manager of the Year Gold Coast region 2012.


Sonia Lindsay

Former Executive Director of Human Resource

Arts Centre Melbourne

Sonia Lindsay has over 20 years’ experience in communications and Human Resources. She is a mediator, facilitator, industrial relations specialist and an English teacher.

She has most recently established the Arts Wellbeing Collective, a state wide program for mental health in the arts with a membership of over 130 organisations and sponsored by business and Government. She has also played a key role in the establishment of Arts Centre Melbourne’s organisational statement ‘The Role You Play’ and the establishment of their ‘pulse reports’.  Sonia has previously worked at La Trobe University, Victoria Police, stints though the Victorian Public Service and the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Right Commission, University of Western Australia, not for profits in Asia, the Premiers Department and the City of Perth in Western Australia.

Sonia is passionate about the connection between diversity, health and productivity and is experienced in setting up high performing teams.


Robert Brierley

Human Resources Director

PACCAR Australia

Robert Brierley is the Head of Human Resources at PACCAR Australia an Australian subsidiary of PACCAR Inc. based in Seattle. With a workforce of over 1000 in Australia across 6 divisions, PACCAR has been successfully designing and manufacturing Kenworth Trucks since 1971 and is the market leader in heavy duty trucks. In 2012 it was inducted into the Victorian Manufacturing Hall of Fame. In 2014 PACCAR won the AHRI Rob Goffee Award for Talent Management. Robert was successful in winning Victorian and National Training Awards for both his current and previous employer.

Robert’s responsibilities cover the full scope of HR including Remuneration & Benefits, Recruitment, Industrial Relations, Health Safety & Security as well as Learning & Development for Australia. As a Six Sigma Green Belt Robert has a particular interest in its application to HR, remuneration, analytics and metrics.

He has worked in both manufacturing and service industries.   Robert has also been a sessional Lecturer in HRM at Swinburne University in the Masters of Business.


Anne Reeves

General Manager of Human Resource

Maurice Blackburn Lawyers

Anne Reeves is the Human Resources General Manager of Maurice Blackburn, Australia’s leading social justice law firm. Anne has more than 20 years of HR experience in professional services including law and the oil and gas/mining sectors in Western Australia, ACT and Victoria. She is a member of the Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI), and holds a Masters in Business (Human Resources).

Anne holds a key leadership position in the firm that encompasses all facets of Human Resources, including strategy, operations, organisational development & design, remuneration, and engagement and wellbeing programs. She manages a team of HR generalists and specialists across Australia which supports over 1,100 employees in more than 30 locations. Anne also contributes to firm-wide policy and initiatives through the HR strategy, key Maurice Blackburn committees and board representation.

Through Anne’s HR leadership, Maurice Blackburn enjoys an employer of choice profile, and she and the team have been recognised in their work on firm employee engagement, wellbeing, along with diversity and equality.


Mira Keresztesi

Principal Consultant of Employee Engagement & Development

Who Group

Mira Keresztesi has been part of the Who Group HR Consulting team for over 5 years assisting organisations in taking an innovative look at People and Culture with trust at its core. Her expertise lies in Who Group’s patented psychological stakeholder engagement tools, employee research and diagnostics, organisational culture development initiatives, workshops and communications.

Mira brings fresh ideas from her international experiences stretching from Africa to Europe and now Australia. Prior to her role at Who Group, she worked in market research in Melbourne; Training & Development in Germany; helped a Development Agency in Africa evaluate the success of their social education program; and worked as an Organisational Psychology Tutor and Research Assistant at the University of Cape Town.

Mira has an Bachelor Degree in Psychology & Communication, and Postgraduate Degree in Organisational Psychology. Her group thesis on ‘Motivation and Performance mediated by Effort’ has been published in the South African Journal of Psychology (2011). In 2015, Mira presented two of her Who Group research pieces, ‘Organisational and Managerial Trust Drivers’ and how ‘Trust drives Engagement’, at the APS 11th Industrial & Organisational Psychology Conference in Melbourne, Australia. She is also an accredited member of the AHRI (Australian Human Resources Institute) VIC OD&D (Organisation Design & Development) committee.


Peter Howes

Vice President, Workforce Planning and Analytics

SAP SuccessFactors

With over four decades of experience in human resource management, Peter is Vice President, Workforce Planning and Analytics for SAP SuccessFactors. Peter has a distinguished global reputation as a consultant in Workforce Metrics, Analytics and Workforce Planning. For the past fifteen years Peter has spent most of his time consulting and advising to global companies in North America and Europe. Peter has spoken at more than 500 conferences and workshops across the globe over the past thirty years and has been involved in more than 100 consulting assignments in Workforce Planning and Workforce Analytics.

In July 2010 Peter sold his business, Infohrm, to SuccessFactors, which was subsequently acquired by SAP in February 2012. Peter was the founder and CEO of Infohrm from 1981-2010. Within SAP SuccessFactors Peter has a Ambassadorial role in developing the Workforce Analytics and Planning business of SuccessFactors. This involves working with the Product Management team, existing clients and prospective clients. He also writes, completes research and speaks at conferences.

Peter is a former Chair of the School of Management Advisory Committee at the Queensland University of Technology and currently Peter is a member of the QUT Council, the governing body for QUT. In 2003, was awarded the Outstanding Alumni award for the Faculty of Business at QUT. Peter is a Life Fellow of the Australian Human Resources Institute and is also a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management. Peter lives between Brisbane and London.


Sally Smith

Senior Consultant, Workforce Insights and Planning

National Australia Bank

As Manager People Insights, Sally is focused on enabling effective workforce decisions through data and meaningful insight. With a background in HR, and a deep interest in analytics, leading people research projects provides the perfect opportunity to identify workforce strategies that make a difference. Sally is passionate about combining employee data with business outcomes to identify drivers of performance. She is particularly interested in the use of statistics to identify causal links and anticipate return on people investments.


Dr Ann Lawless


Charles Sturt University

Dr Ann Lawless is an independent sociologist with interests in the possibilities of enacting democratic forms and civil society in the workplace.  Her recent research has drawn attention to the role of occupational health and mental health in the workplace, and the role of multiple stakeholders in negotiating positive outcomes for all parties.  She is a member of the Sociological Association of Australia and the Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australia, and serves on the Advisory Committee of the National Rural Health Alliance.


Jeff Higgins

Founder and CEO

Human Capital Management Institute

Jeff Higgins is the CEO of the Human Capital Management Institute, a driving force in Workforce analytics helping companies transform data into intelligence via workforce planning and predictive analytics. With his unique experience as both a senior HR executive and former CFO, Jeff helps organizations rapidly advance their analytics & workforce planning journey to unlock billions of dollars in workforce ROI.

Mr. Higgins is a founding member of the Workforce Intelligence Consortium, a member of the ISO Technical Advisory Group (TAG) on human capital, board member of the Center for Talent Reporting (CTR) and editorial committee member for IHRIM’s Workforce Solutions Review (WSR) magazine.

Previously, Mr. Higgins was EVP of client services at Inform a global workforce planning and analytics software and consulting provider, EVP of Workforce Planning at Countrywide Financial Corp., and held senior HR leadership roles driving workforce analytics and planning at The Irvine Company and IndyMac Bancorp Inc.

Mr. Higgins also spent 15 years in finance and accounting roles of increasing responsibility for companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Baxter International, Colgate Palmolive and Klune Industries, ultimately as a Controller, VP of Finance and CFO.

In November 2011, Mr. Higgins and HCMI were featured on a cover story in magazine on Human Capital Financial Statements Power from the People.


Georgina Lee

New Growth Initiatives Leader


Georgina leads growth initiatives for Mercer’s Career consulting business, driving product and service innovation to help organisations both reap the opportunities and tackle the challenges associated with the evolving world of work. Georgina has over 10 years’ experience working in professional services across a wide range of areas including actuarial, data analytics, strategy, digital solutions, product development and operations. With both an engineering and an arts background, Georgina brings a creative lens to her technical skills. She is passionate about user experience and the power of visual communication, particularly in the area of data visualisation, bringing insights and trends to life to drive action and better decision making.


Ephraim Spehrer-Patrick

Practice Leader Talent Strategy & Organization


Ephraim Spehrer-Patrick leads Mecer’s Talent Strategy & Organisation Practice in Europe and the Pacific. This includes People Strategy and Analytics, Leadership and Organisation Design.

Before moving to Australia he was heading the EMEA HC Strategy practice and has developed and implemented workforce strategies and plans with HR and Business Executives in various industries across Europe, the Middle East , Africa, Asia and Australia.

Ephraim has 18+ years in HR management and consulting covering people strategy, planning, analytics, organisational design as well as post merger integration and change management – on local, regional and global level.

Before joining Mercer he was VP HR Strategy & Structure for a European IT Services company.

Recent projects included:

  • People Strategy for Japanese headquartered mining company
  • Organisation redesign of global consumer goods organisation, fundamentally changing the value chain (incl. insights, market, innovation and supply chain)
  • Global Integrated People  Strategy and Planning project with Coca-Cola Company (Atlanta headquarter)

Stella Voules MAPS GAID

Director & Co-CEO


A psychologist, public speaker, published thought leader and senior HR professional with extensive management, board and consulting experience, Stella is as adaptable as they come.

Strategic thinking, creativity and strong execution has seen her excel across industries in both the private and public sector, with a broad and multipronged skill set playing a leading role.

Expect a keen analytical eye, sound judgement, a down-to-earth perspective with a balanced world-view. Pragmatic and robust solutions are Stella’s specialty.

A passion for learning and a love for coaching others elegantly compliments her business acumen, because as she always says, life’s too short to not enjoy a good coffee with someone you can learn from.


Audrey Ciccone

Principal Adviser, Workforce Analytics

Rio Tinto

Audrey Ciccone joined Rio Tinto in January 2017 as the Principal Adviser, Workforce Analytics within the Human Capital Planning and Workforce Analytics area of excellence. The team supports the business in making data driven workforce decisions through the increased use of statistical analysis, machine learning techniques and automation of data reporting.

With over 25 years’ experience in human resources specialising in data analysis, Audrey blends her strengths in business and HR strategy with storytelling and visualizations to uncover insight in data. Prior to joining Rio Tinto, Audrey worked as an independent consultant as well as in a variety of industries including manufacturing and healthcare.

Audrey holds professional HR designations in Australia and Canada along with formal qualifications in Psychology and Human Resources.   She continues to pursue knowledge at the cutting edge of HR. Audrey has chaired analytics conferences in Sydney and Singapore and has designed and facilitated analytics workshops for HR professionals and business leaders throughout the APAC region and North America.


Lang Ip

Workforce Planning and Anlaytics


Lang leads the workforce analytics team for Mercer’s Talent Strategy & Organisation Practice and has over 12 years’ experience in designing and building effective modelling and analytical tools to assist organisations in their decision making processes.

Lang began his career within funds management before moving to project finance. His focus for the last 5 years has been using analytics to challenge the status quo and answer critical questions for organizations as they plan their future workforce strategies. Lang is passionate about finding new ways to approach problems and is a strong advocate for diversity in thought and ideas.