What is the role of a global Australian community in the 21st Century?


Dr Peter Shergold AM, Secretary Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet
Jeremy Philips, Executive Vice President, Office of the Chairman, News Corporation

Professor Rodney Brooks, Director MIT Computer Science and Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab

Andrew Banks, Executive Director, Talent 2

Elena Douglas, CEO Advance – Global Australian Professionals

Moderator: Alan Jones, Presenter, Radio 2GB

Speaker Biographies:

Andrew Banks

Andrew Banks came to Australia from the UK in the early 1970s and commenced his career as an actor with The Old Tote Theatre Company, including the Macbeth production at The Opera House. To supplement his income as a fledgling actor, he was a partner in a successful Sydney restaurant business. He then “cut his hair and got a normal job”, and completed six successful years in the international corporate sector as a human resources professional working in the UK, Norway and the USA, before returning to Australia to join the Executive Recruitment Industry in its early years of development. Andrew, together with Geoff Morgan, founded Morgan & Banks in early 1985, and grew the company to become the dominant recruitment force in Australia and Asia. The company went public in 1995 and sales grew to over $700 million, before it was acquired by TMP/Monster.com in 1999, a US listed company on the NASDAQ. Andrew spent the last three years of his time with TMP in New York as Global Director responsible for over 30 acquisitions, and 4,500 staff operating in 32 countries around the world.

Together with Geoff Morgan, Andrew has authored four books on recruiting, and he works in their investment company, Morgan & Banks Investments, which has a wide range of interests including property development and operating businesses, as well as being a major shareholder and director of Talent2 International (TWO), a publicly traded company on the ASX, which focuses on Executive Search & Selection, Workforce Management and Human Capital Outsourcing. In 2004, Geoff and Andrew were the recipients of the Ernst & Young Master Entrepreneur of the Year Award given for sustained success in business.

Prof. Rodney Brooks

Rodney Brooks is the Panasonic Professor of Robotics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is the Director of the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. He is also co-founder and Chief Technical Officer of iRobot Corporation (NASDAQ: IRBT).

He received a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in pure mathematics from the Flinders University of South Australia, and a PhD in Computer Science from Stanford in 1981. He held research positions at Carnegie Mellon University and at MIT, a faculty position at Stanford before joining the faculty at MIT in 1984. He has worked in artificial intelligence, computer vision, and robotics throughout his career. He is a member of the US National Academy of Engineering, and is a corresponding member of the Australian Academy of Science.

Elena Douglas

Elena is the Chief Executive Officer of Advance based in its New York Headquarters and was the first employee of Advance. She joined Advance in March 2003 when there were 500 members of Advance principally in the New York region. Since that time Advance has grown to the leading network of Australian professionals overseas with over 6000 members and 7 Local Chapters across the United States and one in London.

Prior to joining Advance, Elena was one of the founders of BlueSkyFrog Australian pioneers in SMS entertainment and marketing. She was responsible for securing venture and mezzanine capital and also for developing the consumer and media business before its ultimate sale to Vodafone. Elena led Elena Pasquini & Associates, a boutique consulting firm servicing corporate and government clients and prior to this was a consultant in the National Consulting Group of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu.

Elena was also an independent film producer in Australia and had success with several short films which enjoyed strong international festival screenings including the Canadian International Film Festival, The St Kilda Film Festival, The Hawaii International Film Festival and the London Film Festival. Parlami D’Amore which Elena wrote and produced received Best Short Drama: ATOM Awards, Best Producer and Best Writer: Western Australian Screen Awards. Elena has a Bachelor of Economics degree from the University of Western Australia and in 1996 Elena was one of 15 young Australians awarded the Vincent Fairfax Ethics Leadership Award.

Jeremy Philips

Jeremy Philips is Executive Vice President, Office of the Chairman, at News Corporation and a member of News Corp’s Executive Management Committee. He focuses on acquisitions and strategy across the company.


Dr. Peter Shergold

Dr Peter Shergold has been Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet since February 2003. He received a B.A. (First Class Honours) in Politics and American Studies from the University of Hull; an M.A. in History at the University of Illinois; and a PhD in Economics from the London School of Economics. He migrated to Australia to take up a lectureship at the University of New South Wales in 1972. In 1985 Dr Shergold became Head of the Department of Economic History at the University. While an academic he wrote Working Class Life (1982), edited The Great Immigration Debate (1985), was a major contributor to Convict Workers (1988) and authored more than 50 academic articles on economic, social and labour history.

He has taught at the University of Illinois, Southampton University, the London School of Economics and Pennsylvania State University. He has twice been a Fulbright Scholar. In 1987 he joined the Australian Public Service to establish the Office of Multicultural Affairs. He became a Deputy Secretary in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet in 1990. From 1991 he headed the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC). At the end of his term in July 1994 he was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Comcare. He was Public Service Commissioner from September 1995 to February 1998, playing a leading role in promoting legislative and administrative reform in the Australian Public Service (APS). He continues to pursue his interest in the management of the APS through chairmanship of the Management Advisory Committee, and speaks extensively on public service issues.

In 1998 he was appointed Secretary of the Department of Workplace Relations and Small Business which, following the election, was expanded to become the Department of Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business. He served in that capacity for almost four years before becoming, in January 2002, Secretary of the Department of Education, Science and Training. He took a leading role in developing the government’s reform strategy for higher education.

Dr Shergold is Chair of the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) Board and is also a member of the Commonwealth Association for Public Administration and Management (CAPAM) Board. He has served on the Executive Council of the Eastern Regional Organisation for Public Administration (EROPA). In November 2005 he was made a Fellow of The Academy of Social Sciences in Australia (ASSA).

He was on the Board of Centrelink from 1998–2002. From 2002-2003 he was a Board member of the Australian Research Council and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. He was made a Member in the Order of Australia for ‘public service’ on Australia Day 1996. He seeks to manage his work-life balance by cross-country skiing, bush gardening, playing tennis and golf and researching family history; all he pursues with great enthusiasm unmatched by skill.

[The Advance 100 Global Australians Summit]