The 40 Under 40: Most Influential Asian-Australians Awards is no longer accepting applications.
An initiative of Asialink at the University of Melbourne, the Australian National University, Johnson Partners and PwC Australia, the Awards form part of the Asian-Australian Leadership Summit (AALS) 2020.
This initiative seeks to confront Australia’s “bamboo ceiling” - the underrepresentation of Asian-Australians in leadership positions - in a period when the impact of COVID-19 have resulted in an upsurge of racism and discrimination directed at Asian-Australians. Now is the time to celebrate the powerful contribution of Asian-Australians to this country.
Past winners include academic and Super Star of STEM Dr Muneera Bano writer, and broadcaster Benjamin Law, educator Eddie Woo, barrister Astrid Haban-Beer, and many more.
The 2020 Awards will be presented at a Gala Dinner on Thursday 29 October in Sydney.
Applicants across the following fields are encouraged to apply:
The Awards will be decided by a panel of judges from a diversity of fields, including Dr Rachna Ghandi, General Manager of Group Operations at Westpac, Writer and Chef Adam Liaw, Journalist and Broadcaster Kumi Taguchi and Asialink Group CEO Penny Burtt (See the full list below). The Awards are coordinated by leading executive search firm Johnson Partners.
Eligibility: Australian citizens or permanent residents born after 1 November 1980 domiciled in Australia or abroad.
Applications have now closed.
For further discussion about the program or application process, please contact Alex Jervis at email@example.com
Due to the volume of applications received, we regret that unsuccessful applicants will not be provided with individual feedback.
Senior Lecturer, Deakin University
Superstar of STEM 2019-2020
Science & Technology Australia and 2019
40 under 40 Most Influential Asian Australians Overall Winner
A passionate advocate for women in STEM, Muneera Bano was announced as the ‘Most Influential Asian-Australian Under 40’ in 2019. A ‘Superstar of STEM’ and member of ‘Equity, Diversity and Inclusion’ committee for Science and Technology Australia, Muneera has a strong commitment to smash society’s gender and cultural assumptions about scientists. She is the Go Girl, Go For IT 2020 Ambassador with the aim to inspire the next generation of girls in STEM careers.
During her research career, Muneera has also received prestigious recognition for her work, including being named as a finalist for Google Australia’s Anita Borg Award for Women in Computer Science, Asia-Pacific 2015. She was also the recipient of Schlumberger’s Faculty For The Future (FFTF) Award for Women in STEM (2014 and 2015) and was given the ‘Distinguished Research Paper Award’ at International Requirements Engineering Conference held in August 2018. As the winner of Under 40: Most Influential Asian-Australians Award, Muneera was offered Dr John Yu Fellowship for Cultural Diversity and Leadership at Sydney University in November 2019 .
Dr Muneera Bano is a senior lecturer of software engineering from the Deakin University. She worked as a lecturer at Swinburne University from 2017 to 2019. Muneera graduated from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) in 2015 with a PhD in Software Engineering. After graduation she worked as a Post-doctoral researcher and ‘Learning and Teaching Adjunct’ at UTS. Muneera specialises in the field of socio-technical domains of software engineering focusing on human-centred technologies. Muneera works at the intersection between computers and humans – looking for ways to engineer technology to work better with the people that use it.
She contributes to the broader research community as Associate Editor of the Institution of Engineering and Technology Software Journal, as Track Chair in International Requirements Engineering, and Australian Software Engineering Conferences; and as a member of the program committee for various highly-ranked conferences including Grace Hopper Conference for Women in Computer Science
Muneera specialises in the field of socio-technical domains of software engineering focusing on human-centred technologies. Muneera works at the intersection between computers and humans – looking for ways to engineer technology to work better with the people that use it. Her research interests include requirements engineering, service orientation, sentiment analysis and evidence based software engineering.
She contributes to the broader research community as Associate Editor of the Institution of Engineering and Technology Software Journal, as Track Chair in International Requirements Engineering, and Australian Software Engineering Conferences; and as a member of the program committee for various highly-ranked conferences including Grace Hopper Conference for Women in Computer Science.
During her research career, Muneera has also received prestigious recognition for her work, including being named as a finalist for Google Australia’s Anita Borg Award for Women in Computer Science, Asia-Pacific 2015. She was also the recipient of Schlumberger’s Faculty For The Future (FFTF) Award for Women in STEM (2014 and 2015) and was given the ‘Distinguished Research Paper Award’ at International Requirements Engineering Conference held in August 2018.
Muneera is a passionate advocate of women in STEM and recently was announced as the winner of Under-40 Most Influential Asian-Australian Award. She is a member of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee of Science & Technology Australia.
Managing Director, Link Group
Vivek joined QBE in February 2018 in the role of CEO, Australia Pacific. QBE Australia Pacific is one of the country's largest general insurers.
Before joining QBE, Vivek was inaugural CEO and MD of icare, the NSW Government AUD$32 billion public financial corporation managing the state’s insurance and care schemes.
Vivek has more than 20 years’ experience in the insurance and management consulting sectors. Vivek was previously the CEO of Wesfarmers Insurance in Australia, where he was responsible for leading the multi-brand, multi-channel insurer through a significant transformation journey. He has also co-led McKinsey & Co’s Asia Pacific Restructuring & Transformation practice.
Group Chief Executive Officer, Asialink
Penny is the Group CEO of Asialink, Australia’s leading centre for creative engagement with Asia hosted by the University of Melbourne. She joined Asialink from global payments company Visa, where she served as Vice President, Government Affairs, Asia Pacific. Prior to Visa, Penny led External Relations and Client Service Risk for the Asia Pacific with McKinsey&Company.
Penny is a former diplomat and represented Australia at a senior level in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and at the United Nations in Geneva and New York. She previously served as an Adviser to the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs. Strongly committed to the social sector, Penny has volunteered with and served on the boards of non-government organisations in Asia, the U.S. and Australia. She has served on the Boards of the U.S. National Center for APEC, the Asia Pacific Council of American Chambers of Commerce, the Singapore American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham), the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham), and the Singapore Committee of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD). She also served seven years as a governor of the Singapore Institute of International Relations and BoardAgender, Singapore’s women’s board advocacy organisation.
She is currently an advisor to the Australia-ASEAN Strategic Youth Dialogue, a board member of Meridian 180 a global academic collaboration initiative and the Asian Business Trade Association.
General Manager of Group Operations, Westpac
Rachna Gandhi is a recognised expert in strategy, customer-centric design and digital innovation with a wealth of experience delivering transformation. She is currently General Manager of Group Operations at Westpac, leading a team of 5,000 employess in Australia and abroad. Formerly as Executive General Manager Customer, Digital and Partners at Suncorp Group, Rachna brought her extensive background in digital transformation and in building customer centric cultures to drive the integration of new solutions and services, and to spearhead innovation and customer experience.
Prior to joining Suncorp, Rachna was CEO of the flagship NSW Government agency Service NSW. In this role, Rachna was instrumental in transforming the customer service experience of government through the implementation of a pioneering digital-first one-stop-shop model.
Rachna has had an extensive career in the private sector across banking, wealth management and hospitality. Her previous positions include Director Customer Strategy at AMP and leadership positions across strategy, customer experience design and marketing at Westpac.
Rachna holds a PhD in Consumer Behaviour and postgraduate qualifications in Customer-Led Strategic Transformations from Stanford University (USA).
Managing Partner, Johnson Partners
Since founding Johnson in 2005, Jason has driven a new client centric model that has transformed the executive search industry by delivering a faster, higher impact executive search experience for clients.
Over his 20 years in the search profession, Jason and his team have appointed over 1,000 of the region’s top board and executive leaders including supporting the CEO succession of several of Australia’s largest companies and professional services firms.
Jason has been a partner in two of the world’s six largest executive search firms including serving as Asia Pacific Managing Partner and a member of the Global Executive Committee of a New York listed firm where he was responsible for 50 partners and several hundred staff across the six offices in the Asia-Pacific region whilst also maintaining one of the firm’s most significant search practices.
Jason is recognised as one of the global search industry’s thought leaders. He is the former Global Chairman of the Association of Executive Search Consultants, the peak body representing the US$14 billion global executive search industry. He is a highly sought after commentator on leadership and talent issues and has spoken at conferences in six countries and is a regular contributor to major media including having been quoted in over 50 media publications.
Prior to entering executive search, Jason was a corporate lawyer with Allen & Hemsley, having completed his Bachelor of Economics (Finance) and Bachelor of Laws (Honours) at Macquarie University.
Celebrity Chef, Winner of Masterchef 2010, writer and television presenter
Adam Liaw understands how Australian families eat. As the author of six cookbooks, a weekly newspaper columnist and a television host, his approachable and family-friendly recipes are influenced by his global travels, but remains focused on the casual simplicity of modern Australian home cooking.
Born in Malaysia to an English-Singaporean mother and Hainanese Chinese father, Adam’s family lived in several countries through his youth and his culinary influences are far-reaching. He was an active cook from an early age, regularly cooking for his parents and seven brothers and sisters since he was eight years old. His love affair with food and cooking blossomed during his time working in Japan and he returned to Australia in 2009 to compete in MasterChef. In July 2010 over 5 million people tuned in to watch him win the second series MasterChef.
His award-winning SBS Australia television series Destination Flavour is now in its 6th season, exploring the ways in which food and culture relate around the world. In 2016 the Japanese government appointed Adam as an official Goodwill Ambassador for Japanese Cuisine and he is UNICEF Ambassador for Nutrition. Adam is very active on social media, and you can follow him on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
New South Wales Public Service Commissioner
Kathrina Lo was appointed New South Wales Public Service Commissioner in April 2020. Reporting directly to the NSW Premier, Kathrina is responsible for leading the development and implementation of workforce strategy for the NSW public sector, which is the largest employer in the southern hemisphere.
Prior to her appointment to this position, Kathrina held a number of state and federal public sector roles in a range of areas including legal, policy and strategy, performance auditing and service delivery. Her immediate past role was Deputy Secretary at the New South Wales Department of Communities and Justice, where she was responsible for leading significant reforms to the justice system and initiatives to improve access to justice.
Kathrina has qualifications in law and economics.
Director of the ANU Centre for Asian-Australian Leadership
Jieh-Yung Lo is the inaugural Director of the Centre for Asian-Australian Leadership at the Australian National University (ANU), which aims to address the significant under-representation of Asian-Australians in leadership positions within Australian public institutions and major private sector corporations.
For three years Jieh-Yung worked as the Executive Officer to Professor the Hon Gareth Evans AC QC the former Chancellor of the ANU and co-initiated and coordinated the inaugural Asian-Australian Leadership Summit alongside ANU's co-convenors PwC and Asialink/University of Melbourne on 12-13 September 2019.
Before joining the ANU, Jieh-Yung spent years in various policy and project roles for a number of not for profit and advocacy organisations. He previously served two terms as a Councillor with the City of Monash including two years as Deputy Mayor. As part of his Councillor role, Jieh-Yung also served on the boards of the Monash Gallery of Art and the Eastern Innovation Business Centre.
Artistic Director – OzAsia Festival
Executive Producer – Contemporary Asian Australian Performance
Annette is a writer, broadcaster, actor, producer and theatre-maker.
In an extensive career that has ranged across radio, television, publishing and theatre, her work has always been about the exploration of ideas through the arts – such as music through The Noise and Studio 22, experimental arts and film on Eat Carpet and Imagine. As an actor she was nominated for an AFI award for her supporting role in Clara Law’s feature film Floating Life, as a writer she contributed to anthologies such as Growing up Asian in Australia edited by Alice Pung, Grandma Magic edited by Janet Hutchinson, and co-authored the award-winning Banquet – Ten Courses to Harmony, exploring the ways in which the Chinese integrated into Australian society through food.
Since 2013 Annette has been Executive Producer of Contemporary Asian Australian Performance (CAAP) where she has been highly influential in forging professional pathways for Asian Australian artists, and developing compelling new works that bring contemporary Asian Australian stories to festival stages. These include The Serpent’s Table (Sydney Festival 2014), Yasukichi Murakami – Through a Distant Lens (Darwin Festival, OzAsia Festival 2014); In Between Two (Sydney Festival 2016, Melbourne and OzAsia Festivals 2017); The Backstories which she co-directed with William Yang (Adelaide Festival 2017) and most recently Double Delicious (Sydney Festival 2020 and Asia TOPA).
In 2020 she was appointed Artistic Director of OzAsia Festival, Australia’s leading contemporary arts festival engaging with Asia, produced by the Adelaide Festival Centre.
Annette currently serves on the board of Sydney Theatre Company, the advisory board of the Australia China Institute of Arts and Culture (ACIAC) at Western Sydney University, and is a member of the Asian Producers Platform.
Journalist, Broadcaster and Presenter, ABC
Kumi is the host of the ABC show, Compass, and a regular host of major live events, including the Australian of the Year Awards. In 2018, Kumi was the MC at the opening and closing ceremonies of The Invictus Games in Sydney, broadcasting to a global audience of 60 million.
Kumi has been working in the media for over 20 years, after initially training as a classical violinist. Her first media job was at the ABC’s 7.30 Report in 1997, where she picked up dry-cleaning, organised couriers and transcribed the answering machine.
Chief Executive Officer, CHAMP Ventures
Su-Ming is an investment professional with over 30 years’ direct investment, international corporate advisory and merchant banking experience. He is CEO and a co-founder of CHAMP Ventures, one of Australia's leading mid-market private equity firms.
He is a director of Booktopia, Scentia and Lorna Jane. He has been chairman/director of over 20 CHAMP Ventures portfolio companies. In 2018, Su-Ming was appointed as a Professor of Practice at the UNSW Business School, UNSW.
Mr Wong is a director of Asia Society Australia and Sydney Writers’ Festival, Member of UNSW Business School Advisory Council and Governor of American Chamber of Commerce. He also chairs the Advisory Council of China Matters, an independent think tank focusing on Australia-China matters. He was a member of the Council of University of Technology, Sydney (2010-2014) and the Council of VisAsia at the NSW Art Gallery (2009-2017). He was a founding director of National ICT Australia, a member of the Industry Research and Development Board and a director of Unisearch. He was also a council member of the Australian Venture Capital Association.
He holds a Master of Engineering from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand and a Master of Business Administration from the Australian Graduate School of Management.
Ken works at professional services firm PwC and was admitted to partnership in 1999. He has led cultural diversity and inclusion at PwC and in 2016 co-authored the AHRC blueprint for cultural diversity in Australia 'Leading for Change'. He is a director of the Leadership Council on Cultural Diversity and a member of the NSW Police Commissioner's Multicultural Advisory Council. Ken explores cultural diversity through his articles on LinkedIn.
Ken is a corporate tax specialist in financial services. He has been national leader of the firm's asset & wealth management industry practice and participates in tax reform with the Cth Treasury, industry groups, the Board of Taxation and the Australian Taxation Office.