2021 Asian-Australian Leadership Summit

40 UNDER 40: MOST INFLUENTIAL ASIAN-AUSTRALIANS AWARDS


Meet the winners of the 2021 40 Under 40: Most Influential Asian-Australians Awards.

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) 2021.


Now in its third year, this initiative seeks to reshape the debate and confront Australia’s “bamboo ceiling” – the underrepresentation of Asian-Australians in leadership positions. As communities, companies and governments rethink and reshape leadership for the post-pandemic world, now is the time to celebrate the powerful contribution of Asian-Australians to this country.    

Past winners include Darwin-based barrister Lyma Nguyen (2020 overall winner), LPGA golfer Minjee Lee, disability advocate Danny Hui, academic and Super Star of STEM Dr Muneera Bano (2019 overall winner), broadcaster Benjamin Law, educator Eddie Woo, and many more.  


Applicants across the following fields are encouraged to apply:

  • Arts, Culture
  • Community & Advocacy / Not for Profit
  • Corporate
  • Education
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Legal & Professions
  • Public Sector / Government
  • Science & Medicine
  • Sport
  • Under 25 Rising Star (Under 25s)

In 2021 we introduced a new category, the Under 25 Rising Star. This category will recognise the contributions and impact of emerging young leaders. Recipients in this category demonstrate a record of ongoing excellence and growth in their relevant industry, field, sector or community. Applicants in this category must be born after 1 November 1996 to be eligible.

The Awards will be decided by a panel of judges from a diversity of fields and coordinated by leading executive search firm Johnson Partners.  

Eligibility: Australian citizens or permanent residents born after 1 November 1981 domiciled in Australia or abroad.

For further discussion about the program or application process, please contact Alex Jervis at alex@johnsonpartners.co  
Due to the volume of applications received, we regret that unsuccessful applicants will not be provided with individual feedback.

Sponsorship

A range of sponsorship packages are available for the 40 Under 40 Awards and the AALS summit and gala dinner.

INQUIRE NOW
Benjamin Sow

2021 JUDGES

Sharmila Tsourdalakis

Sharmila Tsourdalakis

Craig Foster AM

Lyma Nguyen

Steve Hui

Sharmila Tsourdalakis leads Stockland’s Innovation, Marketing, Technology and Customer teams. She has over 20 years’ experience working insenior roles in technology, innovation, customer and digital transformation for ASX-listed companies. She was previously the Executive General Manager for Suncorp’s Banking and Wealth Technology and Portfolio Management responsible for the strategic direction and operational leadership of technology. Prior to Suncorp, Ms Tsourdalakis was Chief Information Officer at The GPT Group. Sharmila has led a number of large scale digital and customer-centric transformations, including the implementation and optimisation of complex technology platforms, and is currently focusing on upgrading Stockland’s systems to increase customer service, business efficiency and embrace digital opportunities.
Former Socceroo Craig Foster AM is a passionate advocate for multiculturalism, refugees and social equality as a member of the Australian Multicultural Council and 18 year, multi-Logie-winning broadcast veteran with SBS Television.

Craig was the driving force behind the successful campaign to release footballer Hakeem al-Araibi, who was imprisoned in Thailand in 2018. Craig united and led a global coalition of advocacy groups, charities, high profile Australians and sport to free the footballer. The Federation of International Football  Associations (FIFA) acknowledged his leadership.

In 2019, Craig travelled to Port Moresby to meet with refugees and asylum seekers still detained in Papua New Guinea and Nauru to bring attention to their plight.
Craig also founded the #PlayForLives campaign during COVID-19 disruptions. With a strong conviction that the sporting community should give back to society, he  encourages professional athletes and organisations to fill vacant volunteering positions in community organisations.
Lyma Nguyen was awarded as the 2020 40 Under 40 Most Influential Asian-Australian of the Year. Lyma was Australia’s youngest amongst 45 of the “Trailblazing Women  Australian Lawyers”. This award reflected her ongoing pro bono practice since 2009 as an International Civil Part Counsel at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal in Cambodia. Lyma represented the minor Vietnamese victims in the tribunal’s historic genocide case. Lyma also connected minor Vietnamese communities with the Australian Vietnamese Association to assist in building a school to provide children with access to education. Lyma’s significant contribution in the international arena was recognised through the Prime Minister’s Executive Endeavour Awards in 2013 and a Churchill Fellowship in 2014. The recognition of these awards and Fellowship was used by Lyma to expand her engagement with victims at the Cambodian tribunal and  the International Criminal Court.

Lyma’s domestic career spans criminal prosecution and defence, appellate work before  the Supreme Court and Court of Criminal Appeal, disciplinary inquiries, and advisory work in a variety of civil and criminal briefs. Lyma began her career at the private bar with Darwin’s prestigious William Forster Chambers.Currently she practices as a sole practitioner and is a member of Howells’ List Barristers, Victoria.
Steve Hui is the Founder and Chief Executive of iFLYflat. For 17 years he solved complex problems in senior finance roles in corporations including  Macquarie Bank. Three years ago, Steve started the world’s first points-optimisation consultancy, helping businesses to fly business class for cheaper than economy and optimising their credit card rewards and frequent flyer points to redeem for free travel.

Now Steve is the leading authority on maximising the return from reward points for business, and regularly speaks at conferences, runs workshops and appears on Australian TV, news and media. If you have points, iFLYflat can help you book the points flights that you won’t find.

If you don’t have points, they will create a tailored strategy to help you earn more points than ever. Steve believes everyone should and can experience the true joy of flying in first or business class, and has discovered the secret value hidden in your points.

Jason Yeap OAM

Libby Roy

Konfir Kabo

David McKeering

Jason Yeap OAM is one of Victoria’s most successful entrepreneurs whose acumen for leadership and investment has been an indispensable asset to the community. His private success in law and property development is equally matched by his public  contributions to charity and cultural investment.

Jason has  advocated for, and been called upon, to assist in a range of community advisory boards. Service with the Trade and Investment Policy Advisory Council, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and various universities are but a sample of his contribution to big-picture Australia. Jason also provides substantial charitable contributions to a range of causes. He has been a generous benefactor to the National Gallery of Victoria, providing a great number of art pieces to the gallery. In 2010, Jason was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in recognition of his involvement and contribution as a trustee and Chairman of the NGV Foundation. Likewise, Jason  and his wife established the Wong Swee Soon International Science Internships Award, a program to support students with international internship opportunities.
Based in Sydney, Libby Roy has over 20 years of experience, largely in financial services and wealth management. Libby is currently the Managing Director, Small and Medium Business at Optus. She has held senior divisional roles at American Express, AXA and AMP, gaining experience across payments, credit cards, financial planning, superannuation and travel.

Libby’s board level experience includes her time as Managing Director on the PayPal Australia board. In addition, she has held chairperson and director roles on numerous joint venture and subsidiary boards while working for American Express and AXA.

Libby holds a Master of Business Administration from the Australian Graduate School of Management, University of New South Wales and a Bachelor of Applied Science from Curtin University. Libby is also a member of the Fintech Advisory Panel to the federal government and a member of Chief Executive Women.
Born in Makassar, Indonesia, Konfir Kabo is the founding partner of Kabo Lawyers, a law firm based in Melbourne. He is also the CEO of Aksara Group, a service station investment trust. Konfir Kabo has been an avid art collector for the past decade and is a passionate patron of the arts through Project 11, a philanthropic initiative he established with his wife, Monica Lim. Project 11 works with institutions such as the University of Melbourne, Monash University, RMIT University, National Gallery of Australia, Arts Centre Melbourne, Multicultural Arts Victoria and Musica Viva. He also supports health initiatives such as autism research with OTARC, prostate cancer research and the Skin Cancer Foundation.

Konfir Kabo has recently launched projects in Indonesia, including an education centre in Bandung with Melbourne Polytechnic to deliver audio engineering courses as well as movie production. He was admitted as a solicitor and barrister of the Supreme Court of Victoria and the High Court of Australia in 1998 and is a Fellow of the Australia and New Zealand College of Notaries.
David is the Australia Consulting Leader and ASEANZ Consulting CEO, leading a diverse team of professional consultants to help clients in Government and the Public Sector, Financial Services, Health and Consumer Markets to solve society’s most important problems. David is an  experienced and high performing senior executive known for leading and  inspiring diverse teams, delivering large and complex consulting projects, as well as managing and delivering functions of the C-suite office. He has been responsible for large teams and complex projects across multiple  territories/regions, including Australia, New Zealand, South East Asia, Japan, China/Hong Kong, UK, USA and Europe, across both private and public  sectors.

David joined PwC Australia in 2005 and since becoming a partner in 2007, he has been fortunate to have had leadership roles across the firm, including Consulting Site Leader for Queensland, National Health Leader. His most recent role was moving to Singapore to help build PwC South East Asia Consulting where he performed roles including Public Sector and Healthcare Leader and Chief  Operations Officer. Since  returning to Australia in 2019, David was most recently the Markets Leader for PwC Australia and ASEANZ Consulting focused on helping PwC drive a growth agenda for the Australia, South East Asia and New Zealand region providing client and market leadership.

Dr Pippa Dickson


As the Director of Asialink Arts at Asialink, Dr Pippa Dickson is committed to facilitating true partnership and cooperation between Australia and Asia in the arts and creative industry sectors. Since commencing in 2019 she has developed a revised strategic direction and navigated and transformed the program with agility to maintain and pilot new reciprocal creative exchanges and thought leadership throughout the pandemic environment.

Pippa has extensive arts leadership experience both nationally and internationally. In addition to positions as the Director of the National Association for Visual Artists (NAVA) and Co-Chair of the National Craft Initiative, Pippa founded Design Island for Arts Tasmania, was Chair of Design Tasmania and was the founding CEO of the Glenorchy Art & Sculpture Park.

Pippa has raised over $10 million for national and international art commissions and architectural projects, and worked as a project manager and consultant in the private and public sectors for 20 years.

Outside Australia, her achievements include a mentorship at the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (Hong Kong) with former CEO Michael Lynch, AO OBE in 2015, an International Advisor to the Cheongju International Craft Biennale (South Korea) 2017 and 2019 and judge of the Korean International Ceramic Biennale in 2021. Pippa has spoken at a number of international events and led delegations in the Indo-Pacific.

Pippa holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Western Australia, a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Hons) and a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Tasmania.

Jieh-Yung Lo


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, at the 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

Jason Johnson


Since founding Johnson Partners 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.

Katrina Rathie


Bringing deep Asian/Australian business expertise, Katrina Rathie is an experienced Chair and Non-Executive Director, with a career background as a partner at a top tier professional services law firm. Katrina has been named an AFR 100 Women of Influence (2019), in recognition of her contributions to law, business, gender and cultural diversity. She is inducted into the IP Hall of Fame, has featured on the Global Top 250 Women in IP list and is recognised as Woman Lawyer of the Year, Private Practice; Intellectual Property Partner of the Year; and Best in IP Litigation.

Katrina is a Non-Executive Director of Starlight Children's Foundation Australia, named the most trusted children's charity and most innovative NFP in Australia. She is the Vice President of Cranbrook School/Chair of the Cranbrook Foundation, is on the Board of the NSW Rugby Union/Waratahs, and is a member of the Advisory Board of Media Diversity Australia, which encourages greater cultural diversity in the media.

Katrina holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting & Financial Management) and a law degree from UNSW Sydney and is admitted to the New York Bar.

As the Director of Asialink Arts at Asialink, Dr Pippa Dickson is committed to facilitating true partnership and cooperation between Australia and Asia in the arts and creative industry sectors. Since commencing in 2019 she has developed a revised strategic direction and navigated and transformed the program with agility to maintain and pilot new reciprocal creative exchanges and thought leadership throughout the pandemic environment.

Pippa has extensive arts leadership experience both nationally and internationally. In addition to positions as the Director of the National Association for Visual Artists (NAVA) and Co-Chair of the National Craft Initiative, Pippa founded Design Island for Arts Tasmania, was Chair of Design Tasmania and was the founding CEO of the Glenorchy Art & Sculpture Park.

Pippa has raised over $10 million for national and international art commissions and architectural projects, and worked as a project manager and consultant in the private and public sectors for 20 years.

Outside Australia, her achievements include a mentorship at the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (Hong Kong) with former CEO Michael Lynch, AO OBE in 2015, an International Advisor to the Cheongju International Craft Biennale (South Korea) 2017 and 2019 and judge of the Korean International Ceramic Biennale in 2021. Pippa has spoken at a number of international events and led delegations in the Indo-Pacific.

Pippa holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Western Australia, a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Hons) and a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Tasmania.
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