August 2017 Alumni

2017 - August

Andrew Gibbs is the creative director at Human Ventures, a social enterprise based in Brisbane that uses digital technologies to deliver innovative programs to address social issues such as substance abuse, domestic violence, disconnected and dysfunctional communities, mental health and leadership in remote Indigenous communities. Andrew uses digital tools ranging from free software through to high-end professional equipment to empower people to effect positive social change and produce digital advocacy outcomes. He is adept at explaining complex ideas and demystifying digital technology for people from all walks of life, from executives to young people living in Indigenous communities.

Ashish Shah has a passion for innovation and embracing the positive effects of digital disruption. With the support of his employer, the Logan City Council, Ashish is helping to spread the word about digital trends and opportunities. He is an active participant of many digital-related groups and attends many events to encourage collaboration and networking. Ashish works with local community groups such as Neighbourhood Watch to help them to use technology to support their work. His belief is that effective and balanced adoption of digital technologies enables social, economic and environmental betterment.

Brentyn Parkin is the executive director of Community Information Support Services, a Queensland-based social enterprise that provides access to data generated by and for the community sector via the online platform, My Community Directory. This directory provides disadvantaged members of the community with free digital access to information about how and where to access support services, and comprehensive location-based information on health, disability, education, recreational and social services. My Community Directory allows community groups to list on the platform, linking them to digital resources so they can set up Twitter and Facebook accounts. More than 10,000 community groups have signed up to the directory.

Chris Hogan's latest initiative is MentorRevolution.com—a podcast and video series aimed at inspiring budding Gold Coast technology entrepreneurs to be bold. He is also the Chief Executive Officer of MeMedia, a digital agency he founded to help Gold Coast businesses succeed online. Chris has donated his time to speak at educational institutions such as Griffith University and Gold Coast TAFE and he has organised numerous free and low-cost education events covering a range of topics.

Dennis Murphy is the co-founder and president of Startup Mackay, the region’s leading tech-based entrepreneurship peer group, whose members are individuals with a passion for technology, business, social causes and empowering people. He helped organise Mackay’s first startup weekend, two ongoing bi-annual Mentor Blaze events and information sessions on intellectual property and trademarking. In his spare time, Dennis is also working on a startup called ShareBoat, an online platform that connects boat-owners with boating enthusiasts.

Dr Eleanor Horton’s role as a senior lecturer in nursing at Sunshine Coast University sees her educating nursing students about how assistive technology can be used to help older and disabled people to maintain their independence in the community. She is also part of a group helping to develop this assistive technology, bringing her own unique perspective as a consumer and carer for her husband who is a stroke survivor with significant disabilities. Eleanor uses assistive technology to keep in touch with her husband during the day through video conferencing, while she is at work at the university. Her expertise and ability to relate her real-life experience using assistive technology to research and development make her in demand for consumer advisory groups, workshops and conferences.

Fleur Anderson is passionate about providing rural and regional businesses with the technical knowhow that they need to help their communities thrive. She is a committed Theodore-based business person and community advocate who is currently producing a podcast series, Beating Around the Bush, for budding regional and rural entrepreneurs. She is particularly interested in the link between entrepreneurial development and community development. Fleur also recognises that helping small businesses to access the digital technology they need to thrive, and providing opportunities for people to meet, connect and collaborate, will help increase and continue regional economic diversity.

Graeme Breen is head of coding and innovation (the Hub) and STEM activities at Mountain Creek State High School on the Sunshine Coast. As head of the Hub, Graham provides professional development in digital technology for teachers, manages the introduction of Lean Startup and design principles, provides opportunities in advanced coding for students from across the Sunshine Coast and uses the website (codingandinnovationhub.com) to keep others informed about initiatives. Since 2014, Graeme has helped more than 200 teachers upgrade their skills. He has also supported the development of young creative minds by initiating a Youth Startup Weekend and through the introduction of a dedicated maker space.

As a committed science communicator, Dr Ian McLeod is combining his academic credentials with an innovative approach to digital communications to educate, inform and inspire. Through his role as communications manager for the Centre for Tropical Water and Aquatic Ecosystem Research, Ian is using video, photos, seminars and social media to disseminate the latest science news and research to the widest possible audience, encouraging greater engagement with science. He mentors other communications managers and gives free workshops to university students and staff on using online platforms in research. Ian also gives his own time to deliver workshops on digital storytelling and science communication.

Jessica Fealy is a volunteer team member for the community organisation, Startup Tablelands in Far North Queensland. She passionately believes in the value of small business in rural communities and using the power of social media to connect businesses from any industry to valuable networks and markets. In her role as a volunteer, Jessica creates and delivers programs using social media to enhance outcomes for businesses, community groups and charities in the local Atherton Tablelands area. Jessica is continuing to spread the word on the power and importance of social media through monthly workshops.

As an educator, Joel Speranza’s philosophy is to bring the world into the classroom through digital technology to enrich the learning experiences of students and make lessons more relevant. He is encouraging his fellow teachers around the world to adopt a ‘flipped learning’ model, which sees students viewing course material at home and then using the classroom as a collaborative learning space. Joel provides mentoring to pre-service and early career teachers through his role as an online mentor for TeachConnect and also supports and encourages his colleagues at St Joseph’s College, Nudgee, to adopt innovative digital methods to engage with their students. As the host of four YouTube channels where he posts videos almost daily, Joel is continuing to provide support for teachers and students globally.

Karen Jarling’s beef supply company has actively embraced the digital age. As a novice to digital technology, she has seen first-hand how important it can be to create a digital story to help a local business to prosper. Social media has provided Karen with a direct link to her customers who get to see in real time what they do and can even be part of the conversation. She now wants to share her story and experiences with other small businesses in her local community to help them embark on a digital journey and embrace
the opportunities that technology can provide.

As the head of department for business and digital technologies at James Nash State High School in Gympie, Karen Swift is leading the school’s digital agenda. She has had a significant impact on transforming the learning culture to a blended learning model and she actively encourages students’ involvement in coding and website construction. Her work extends beyond the classroom, liaising with parents and the community to promote the need to embrace the digital shift, highlighting changing employment futures, encouraging online safety and creating opportunities for students to leverage their skills and connections with local organisations. Karen is also promoting digital education with her fellow teachers as a mentor and through eLearning training.

Kristine Kopelke is the head of Contemporary Learning and coordinator of the Contemporary Learning Hub, a unique school-based, self-funding startup at Meridan State College. She designs and implements professional development programs for Queensland educators, delivered in person and online. This year alone, Kristine has provided professional development to more than 1000 educators from 327 Queensland schools. As part of her innovative learning programs. Kristine has placed 1500 robots in Queensland classrooms. She founded a program to teach girls about robots, programming and digital technology and recently also launched an eight-week Innov8 action-learning program to mentor and help other educators to introduce new digital technologies. Her work enables people in local communities to use current and emerging digital technologies to expand their networks and to understand the possibilities that digital technology provides.

Lee Crockford is the Chief Executive Officer of Spur Projects, an all-volunteer, not-forprofit organisation that uses digital platforms to tackle men’s mental health and suicide prevention. He is passionate about mental health, social change, the arts, education and innovation and has been a true innovator, leading Spur Projects’ digital strategy and managing a growing team of young contributors. Lee is also Chief Executive Officer of Assemblus, which works to amplify sustainable social impacts within companies, charities and not-for-profit organisations. Lee’s combines his background in project development with his work around the world to explore new ways of thinking and delivering content.

Leesa Watego is a small-business owner, educator and self-taught digital enthusiast. She is a fervent advocate for individuals and communities to use digital technologies to communicate ideas and archive their stories. Leesa works with a team of graphic designers, web designers and artists to create communication solutions for Indigenous projects, small businesses, community organisations and government agencies. As a digital enthusiast, she regularly volunteers to help others to understand how digital technology can work for them and their projects, whether that means navigating the new social media landscape, working with Indigenous communities to help them find platforms to document their family histories or encouraging individuals to share their own leadership journeys.

Maggie Hardy is a researcher with a strong message for her fellow scientists — they need to share their findings with the public, particularly through digital channels. Her work this year will include training researchers who will then visit regional towns to encourage local industry partners to link with researchers, encourage opportunities for future collaboration and promote the work happening in Queensland communities on social media. Maggie knows that digital solutions are out there for scientists—they just need to be educated about them and her workshops include discussion on the importance of social
media analytics to support and promote research. Maggie’s goal is to continue providing communication and digital media training to scientists to maximise their collaboration with local communities.

Megan Taylor is an online business development strategist who also donates her time to running digital awareness sessions with her local chamber of commerce. In addition to running her own company, Megan provides free consultation services and business improvement advice. Support for non-profit groups and local clubs is a strong part of Megan’s business ethos and she donates her expertise to help them to develop business and digital tools that will allow them to continue their work in their communities. Megan recognises that as a business owner in her community, she can share her story with fellow business owners, promote the benefits of the digital economy and help others to become digitally aware.

Nicola Flanagan is a Queensland teacher and digital learning coordinator at Oakleigh State School in the Brisbane suburb of Ashgrove, where she has managed the evolving nature of digital literacy and pedagogy for the past four years. She believes firmly in the power of digital technology to connect, ignite and motivate. She supports and mentors teachers at her own school and within the Mt Coot-tha cluster of 11 schools to help them to use information and communications technology in effective and engaging ways. Nicola has a personal belief in the power of students to makes a difference and she is excited by the potential that the digital technologies curriculum and school vision provide to help students to become designers and creators of solutions.

Pip Russell is the managing director of Juiced TV, a program made by kids in hospital, for kids in hospital, which is broadcast on the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital patient entertainment system and distributed online via YouTube and a website. Juiced TV also uses social media to share positive stories among families and the community, and to show supporters how their crowd-funding contributions make a big difference to the lives of sick children. Plans are underway to expand Juiced TV to regional hospitals to connect patients across Queensland and through a mobile application that is under development. Pip’s role in providing entertainment and distraction through digital means is helping to speed up the recovery of sick and injured Queensland children.

Tony Kishawi is the creative director of Lightwire Theatre Productions in Gympie and is a passionate advocate for local communities to participate and benefit from the digital world. He lives by the philosophy ‘see a need, fill a need’ and demonstrated this when he set up two websites for his local community to find out what was happening in their town and to promote local events. He’s now looking to build his community even further by looking for new ways to assist community groups and local businesses such as farmers’ markets to use available technology to promote themselves and their activities. Tony insists people have great stories to tell—they just need some digital assistance to get them out there—and he is helping them to do just that.

Dr Trina Myers champions the deep collaboration between university and industry that is fundamental to economic transformation through innovative ‘early-in-degree’ internships for students. She also educates Queenslanders on how to embrace digital technologies, create and adopt digital solutions and be active in a digital world. Trina has helped deliver a scheme that includes university staff and students visiting schools to run coding classes and clubs and initiating and supporting community coding and start-up events.


Yvette Adams is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of three technology businesses—The Creative Collective, The Training Collective and awardshub.com. Through a range of offline and online programs, she has developed and delivered digital skills training to thousands of businesses and individuals. Yvette’s digital skills training encourages people to participate online, become more digitally-savvy and adopt digital technologies. Yvette’s online programs have assisted people from all backgrounds and demographics including Indigenous, disabled, seniors, youth and women, equipping them with essential digital skills that help them to establish businesses online and to market them effectively.


Alison Fairleigh's work to raise the profile of mental health issues, particularly in rural and remote Queensland has led to her belief in the power of digital technology to connect people, especially those ‘doing it tough’. Her desire for social justice drives her advocacy for equity in the services available for people living and working in rural and remote Australia. She conducts regular social media workshops that help to equip people in farming communities to connect, to share their stories digitally and to get the support they need. By working to increase the digital literacy of people in remote locations, Alison is giving them the tools they need to access online mental health resources and support.

Anna Kinnane is primarily an educator and a project manager at the Queensland College of Teachers. One of Anna’s significant contributions to increasing the digital literacy of teachers was as a writer for the Australian Digital Technologies curriculum. She has been recognised for her dedication and commitment to improving understanding and skills in integrating ICT into teaching, learning and the curriculum. Anna led the design, development and implementation of the P-12 Student ICT Expectations (statewide curriculum resource) and delivered professional development in curriculum and pedagogy at state, regional andnational levels. She has been invited to speak at national conferences, forums and events to promote understanding of the curriculum and the crucial role of digital technologies.

Bernard (Bernie) O’Keefe is the Director of Marketing for Tangalooma Island Resort, an exemplary Queensland tourism business and leading adopter of digital technologies. Bernie’s enthusiasm for digital technology is transforming the way the business attracts and serves its customers and has helped to build its online reputation and overall performance. Behind the scenes, Bernie also works to improve the digital adoption culture throughout the business and enhance its day-to-day operations.

Chern’ee Sutton is a gifted and successful 19-year-old contemporary Indigenous artist based in the Wide Bay area who uses her creative talent and her digital media skills to share her culture with the world and promote the ideals of reconciliation to the community. This proud Kalkadoon woman uses her art to bring together stories of traditional Indigenous culture and young people. Many of her artworks have been transformed via digital technology into merchandise and website branding. Chern’ee is using the power and potential of digital media (websites and podcasts) to share her artwork, culture and message with the world to engage and inspire others.

Through his role as Service Development and Innovation Manager for Endeavour Foundation, Chris Beaumont uses new and innovative technologies to deliver services that foster and increase the independence, capability and satisfaction of people with a disability. Working with companies that specialise in assistive technologies, Chris and his team are working on exciting, practical software and digital tools that are cost effective, but flexible and responsive enough to meet the needs of their clients and help them to achieve as much independence as possible. Virtual reality environment platforms are now being explored to provide life skills to clients in a safe environment.

David Beitey is a passionate advocate of free and open source software and all aspects of IT security. While he actively pursues his own technology startup ideas and business concepts, he also organises, promotes and encourages people from all walks of life to participate in networking events and opportunities to learn about digital technologies. He is enthusiastic about developing the ICT community in Townsville and has been instrumental in organising a startup weekend, startup community meetup and volunteer partnership with a local college to attract more young people into technology. David is an ICT mentor and problem solver to his colleagues, researchers and other groups at James Cook University.

As Director of the JCU eResearch Centre, Professor Ian Atkinson works with researchers to apply new and ever-changing ICT tools and methods to their research to amplify their impact. He has represented Australia on federal and international bodies, presented hundreds of lectures and workshops, delivered ICT skills development programs to a wide range of community groups and championed outreach activities. Ian has been an advocate of digital technologies in North Queensland for over 30 years and has initiated many collaborations in the region. His current focus is on computational chemistry and high-performance computing.

James Novak has been nationally and internationally recognised for his innovations in 3D printing, which includes creating a 3D printed bike that has the potential to revolutionise high-performance sports equipment. He is an industrial designer, a PhD researcher and university lecturer who regularly runs workshops for students and the broader community on 3D printing and technology. James has shown a real commitment to inspiring, educating and informing Queenslanders on digital technologies via social media, educational workshops, speaking events, exhibitions and media interviews. He continues to educate and inspire the next generation of designers to embrace technologies and digital solutions.

Jennifer Nini uses digital media and her background in digital content marketing to help other businesses and to achieve her goal of ethical fashion. The tagline for the website of her digital marketing agency, The Social Copywriter, is ‘words for the greater good’. She shares her communication and digital marketing expertise with other socially responsible businesses and creates digital content for distribution to a wider audience via various digital platforms and automation tools. Jennifer’s future goal is to provide free workshops for businesses and not-for-profit organisations to encourage them to use digital media and marketing to increase their brand awareness, improve their outcomes and understand how their business is performing.

Leigh Howser has been an educator for 16 years and she is currently the head of the ICT and eLearning department at the Cairns School of Distance Education. Leigh’s passion for enhancing learning through the use of ICT has driven her to design and implement programs to support teachers, students and parents. She is also an active member of the wider ICT educators’ community and provides quality, professional development for educators in Far North Queensland via web-conferencing, online and face-to-face.

Margaret Aspin is an eLearning developer who specialises in developing digital tools and resources for learning. She spends a lot of her time as a ‘digital communicator’, talking to TAFE teachers, trainers and others about the digital economy, digital marketing techniques and using digital technologies to communicate and create networks. Margaret is also the facilitator of an innovative business network comprising TAFE Queensland, Regional Development Australia and Microsoft, which reaches out to various businesses using speakers and case studies from universities, government departments and agencies, industry associations and successful digital businesses. Margaret is an award-winning educator for the 21st century and a champion of flexible learning using digital technologies.

Melissa Westcott is a busy business woman from Central West Queensland, whois actively engaged with local groups, training and development initiatives in her regionand is a keen supporter and advocate for small business and online solutions. In addition to running her online retail store and two regional outlets, Melissa also manages her own boutique training company, advocates for digital expansion and delivers workshops that encourage businesses to use online medium for expansion. As a role model and local champion, she promotes the uptake of the digital economy within her region and is a volunteer mentor to ten small businesses as they move into the digital space.

Dr Mohan Karunanithi's goal sounds simple— use health-related digital technologies to improve chronic disease management—but his work at CSIRO in
partnership with Queensland Health is complex and innovative. He is a leader and researcher in mobile health innovation and his work assists older people in the community to use digital technologies to access and improve their health care and gain social support. Mohan’s research and accomplishments are impressive and he continues to use his experience and interest in integrating digital technology with health services to improve the health and wellbeing of Queensland seniors.

Nathan Christensen is a physics, science and engineering teacher at Kelvin Grove State College in Brisbane who uses technology to respond quickly, creatively and efficiently to individual student’s needs. His innovative teaching has made him an ICT leader at his school and he is enthusiastic about the innovative use of technologies in the classroom to replicate real-world experiences and foster deep learning, including the use of ‘flipped teaching’. He has created partnerships between his students and the Queensland University of Technology as well as an engineering firm to engage his students in ever more meaningful learning.

Sunshine Coast based, Pauline O’Sullivan is the co-founder and director of the Victus Health Nutrition Platform—a comprehensive database of healthy recipes, tailored for a range of health conditions. The database, developed by Pauline and her business partner, uses specialised meal planning software that enables health practitioners to design and deliver complex personalised nutrition plans to their patients, in minutes instead of hours. Pauline believes that new technologies can play a significant role in changing the attitudes towards healthy nutrition and improving practices to improve the health of all. As a natural collaborator with strong community values, Pauline’s innovation and willingness to adopt and share digital business solutions is recognised within her local community.

The intelligent, behind-the-scenes digital technology that Robert Friedler is responsible for makes customers happy at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. He is constantly looking for new technology solutions to ensure his customers have an amazing and education-rich experience. Robert is also using digital technology innovations behind the scenes to manage the zoo, its inhabitants and staff. His willingness to embrace new technology and implement innovative solutions is helping this business to thrive.

Rory O’Connor is the Chief Executive Officer of Yugambeh Museum, Language and Heritage Research Centre in Beenleigh, which uses digital technologies to tell the stories of the Yugambeh people of the Beenleigh area. Rory enthusiastically embraces digital technology as the most effective means of both preserving and reviving local Indigenous languages. The museum’s website provides a means for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians to engage with the Yugambeh culture. Rory was also instrumental in the development of the Yugambeh language app, the first language application for a Queensland Indigenous language. The app has since been extended to include another six languages from across Queensland. Rory is continuing to use digital technology to promote and raise awareness of Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages and cultures.

Stewart Koplick leads an exciting virtual learning environment project at Endeavour Foundation that employs a virtual reality headset with the potential to open up new worlds and ways of sharing knowledge among students and teachers alike. He enlists the help of students to co-develop new learning strategies using the latest technologies. Stewart is an experienced educator with a belief in the power of new technologies to transform the lives of people with a disability. He supports both staff and students within Endeavour’s learning community to use digital technologies in their daily lessons and advocates the use of online tools like email and social media to access and share information and to keep in touch with family and friends.

Taj Pabari is a ‘digital native’. At just sixteen years-old, he’s already an inventor, an entrepreneur, a philanthropist and an educational pioneer. He made his entrepreneurial debut at the age of 11, when he founded his first ‘company’—an electronic blogging site for children, by children. In 2014, Taj founded Fiftysix Creations, to commercialise his invention of an educational do-it-yourself tablet kit for children designed to ignite the creative spark in all children by helping them to build and customise their very own tablet. The year 12 student at John Paul College in Brisbane says he has a passion for inspiring children to embrace the world of entrepreneurship through technology and innovation.

As the owner and operator of a small business, Tanya Fisher’s goal is to provide a high-quality service for customers. To this end she uses up-to-date digital solutions in all areas of her business and reaches out to the small and medium businesses in her area to give them the skills and confidence they need to harness the power of the digital space as a way of boosting their business. Tanya plans to continue to share her administrator experience and her interest and expertise in the latest digital business solutions with her local community.

2017 - August

Andrew Gibbs is the creative director at Human Ventures, a social enterprise based in Brisbane that uses digital technologies to deliver innovative programs to address social issues such as substance abuse, domestic violence, disconnected and dysfunctional communities, mental health and leadership in remote Indigenous communities. Andrew uses digital tools ranging from free software through to high-end professional equipment to empower people to effect positive social change and produce digital advocacy outcomes. He is adept at explaining complex ideas and demystifying digital technology for people from all walks of life, from executives to young people living in Indigenous communities.

Ashish Shah has a passion for innovation and embracing the positive effects of digital disruption. With the support of his employer, the Logan City Council, Ashish is helping to spread the word about digital trends and opportunities. He is an active participant of many digital-related groups and attends many events to encourage collaboration and networking. Ashish works with local community groups such as Neighbourhood Watch to help them to use technology to support their work. His belief is that effective and balanced adoption of digital technologies enables social, economic and environmental betterment.

Brentyn Parkin is the executive director of Community Information Support Services, a Queensland-based social enterprise that provides access to data generated by and for the community sector via the online platform, My Community Directory. This directory provides disadvantaged members of the community with free digital access to information about how and where to access support services, and comprehensive location-based information on health, disability, education, recreational and social services. My Community Directory allows community groups to list on the platform, linking them to digital resources so they can set up Twitter and Facebook accounts. More than 10,000 community groups have signed up to the directory.

Chris Hogan's latest initiative is MentorRevolution.com—a podcast and video series aimed at inspiring budding Gold Coast technology entrepreneurs to be bold. He is also the Chief Executive Officer of MeMedia, a digital agency he founded to help Gold Coast businesses succeed online. Chris has donated his time to speak at educational institutions such as Griffith University and Gold Coast TAFE and he has organised numerous free and low-cost education events covering a range of topics.

Dennis Murphy is the co-founder and president of Startup Mackay, the region’s leading tech-based entrepreneurship peer group, whose members are individuals with a passion for technology, business, social causes and empowering people. He helped organise Mackay’s first startup weekend, two ongoing bi-annual Mentor Blaze events and information sessions on intellectual property and trademarking. In his spare time, Dennis is also working on a startup called ShareBoat, an online platform that connects boat-owners with boating enthusiasts.

Dr Eleanor Horton’s role as a senior lecturer in nursing at Sunshine Coast University sees her educating nursing students about how assistive technology can be used to help older and disabled people to maintain their independence in the community. She is also part of a group helping to develop this assistive technology, bringing her own unique perspective as a consumer and carer for her husband who is a stroke survivor with significant disabilities. Eleanor uses assistive technology to keep in touch with her husband during the day through video conferencing, while she is at work at the university. Her expertise and ability to relate her real-life experience using assistive technology to research and development make her in demand for consumer advisory groups, workshops and conferences.

Fleur Anderson is passionate about providing rural and regional businesses with the technical knowhow that they need to help their communities thrive. She is a committed Theodore-based business person and community advocate who is currently producing a podcast series, Beating Around the Bush, for budding regional and rural entrepreneurs. She is particularly interested in the link between entrepreneurial development and community development. Fleur also recognises that helping small businesses to access the digital technology they need to thrive, and providing opportunities for people to meet, connect and collaborate, will help increase and continue regional economic diversity.

Graeme Breen is head of coding and innovation (the Hub) and STEM activities at Mountain Creek State High School on the Sunshine Coast. As head of the Hub, Graham provides professional development in digital technology for teachers, manages the introduction of Lean Startup and design principles, provides opportunities in advanced coding for students from across the Sunshine Coast and uses the website (codingandinnovationhub.com) to keep others informed about initiatives. Since 2014, Graeme has helped more than 200 teachers upgrade their skills. He has also supported the development of young creative minds by initiating a Youth Startup Weekend and through the introduction of a dedicated maker space.

As a committed science communicator, Dr Ian McLeod is combining his academic credentials with an innovative approach to digital communications to educate, inform and inspire. Through his role as communications manager for the Centre for Tropical Water and Aquatic Ecosystem Research, Ian is using video, photos, seminars and social media to disseminate the latest science news and research to the widest possible audience, encouraging greater engagement with science. He mentors other communications managers and gives free workshops to university students and staff on using online platforms in research. Ian also gives his own time to deliver workshops on digital storytelling and science communication.

Jessica Fealy is a volunteer team member for the community organisation, Startup Tablelands in Far North Queensland. She passionately believes in the value of small business in rural communities and using the power of social media to connect businesses from any industry to valuable networks and markets. In her role as a volunteer, Jessica creates and delivers programs using social media to enhance outcomes for businesses, community groups and charities in the local Atherton Tablelands area. Jessica is continuing to spread the word on the power and importance of social media through monthly workshops.

As an educator, Joel Speranza’s philosophy is to bring the world into the classroom through digital technology to enrich the learning experiences of students and make lessons more relevant. He is encouraging his fellow teachers around the world to adopt a ‘flipped learning’ model, which sees students viewing course material at home and then using the classroom as a collaborative learning space. Joel provides mentoring to pre-service and early career teachers through his role as an online mentor for TeachConnect and also supports and encourages his colleagues at St Joseph’s College, Nudgee, to adopt innovative digital methods to engage with their students. As the host of four YouTube channels where he posts videos almost daily, Joel is continuing to provide support for teachers and students globally.

Karen Jarling’s beef supply company has actively embraced the digital age. As a novice to digital technology, she has seen first-hand how important it can be to create a digital story to help a local business to prosper. Social media has provided Karen with a direct link to her customers who get to see in real time what they do and can even be part of the conversation. She now wants to share her story and experiences with other small businesses in her local community to help them embark on a digital journey and embrace
the opportunities that technology can provide.

As the head of department for business and digital technologies at James Nash State High School in Gympie, Karen Swift is leading the school’s digital agenda. She has had a significant impact on transforming the learning culture to a blended learning model and she actively encourages students’ involvement in coding and website construction. Her work extends beyond the classroom, liaising with parents and the community to promote the need to embrace the digital shift, highlighting changing employment futures, encouraging online safety and creating opportunities for students to leverage their skills and connections with local organisations. Karen is also promoting digital education with her fellow teachers as a mentor and through eLearning training.

Kristine Kopelke is the head of Contemporary Learning and coordinator of the Contemporary Learning Hub, a unique school-based, self-funding startup at Meridan State College. She designs and implements professional development programs for Queensland educators, delivered in person and online. This year alone, Kristine has provided professional development to more than 1000 educators from 327 Queensland schools. As part of her innovative learning programs. Kristine has placed 1500 robots in Queensland classrooms. She founded a program to teach girls about robots, programming and digital technology and recently also launched an eight-week Innov8 action-learning program to mentor and help other educators to introduce new digital technologies. Her work enables people in local communities to use current and emerging digital technologies to expand their networks and to understand the possibilities that digital technology provides.

Lee Crockford is the Chief Executive Officer of Spur Projects, an all-volunteer, not-forprofit organisation that uses digital platforms to tackle men’s mental health and suicide prevention. He is passionate about mental health, social change, the arts, education and innovation and has been a true innovator, leading Spur Projects’ digital strategy and managing a growing team of young contributors. Lee is also Chief Executive Officer of Assemblus, which works to amplify sustainable social impacts within companies, charities and not-for-profit organisations. Lee’s combines his background in project development with his work around the world to explore new ways of thinking and delivering content.

Leesa Watego is a small-business owner, educator and self-taught digital enthusiast. She is a fervent advocate for individuals and communities to use digital technologies to communicate ideas and archive their stories. Leesa works with a team of graphic designers, web designers and artists to create communication solutions for Indigenous projects, small businesses, community organisations and government agencies. As a digital enthusiast, she regularly volunteers to help others to understand how digital technology can work for them and their projects, whether that means navigating the new social media landscape, working with Indigenous communities to help them find platforms to document their family histories or encouraging individuals to share their own leadership journeys.

Maggie Hardy is a researcher with a strong message for her fellow scientists — they need to share their findings with the public, particularly through digital channels. Her work this year will include training researchers who will then visit regional towns to encourage local industry partners to link with researchers, encourage opportunities for future collaboration and promote the work happening in Queensland communities on social media. Maggie knows that digital solutions are out there for scientists—they just need to be educated about them and her workshops include discussion on the importance of social
media analytics to support and promote research. Maggie’s goal is to continue providing communication and digital media training to scientists to maximise their collaboration with local communities.

Megan Taylor is an online business development strategist who also donates her time to running digital awareness sessions with her local chamber of commerce. In addition to running her own company, Megan provides free consultation services and business improvement advice. Support for non-profit groups and local clubs is a strong part of Megan’s business ethos and she donates her expertise to help them to develop business and digital tools that will allow them to continue their work in their communities. Megan recognises that as a business owner in her community, she can share her story with fellow business owners, promote the benefits of the digital economy and help others to become digitally aware.

Nicola Flanagan is a Queensland teacher and digital learning coordinator at Oakleigh State School in the Brisbane suburb of Ashgrove, where she has managed the evolving nature of digital literacy and pedagogy for the past four years. She believes firmly in the power of digital technology to connect, ignite and motivate. She supports and mentors teachers at her own school and within the Mt Coot-tha cluster of 11 schools to help them to use information and communications technology in effective and engaging ways. Nicola has a personal belief in the power of students to makes a difference and she is excited by the potential that the digital technologies curriculum and school vision provide to help students to become designers and creators of solutions.

Pip Russell is the managing director of Juiced TV, a program made by kids in hospital, for kids in hospital, which is broadcast on the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital patient entertainment system and distributed online via YouTube and a website. Juiced TV also uses social media to share positive stories among families and the community, and to show supporters how their crowd-funding contributions make a big difference to the lives of sick children. Plans are underway to expand Juiced TV to regional hospitals to connect patients across Queensland and through a mobile application that is under development. Pip’s role in providing entertainment and distraction through digital means is helping to speed up the recovery of sick and injured Queensland children.

Tony Kishawi is the creative director of Lightwire Theatre Productions in Gympie and is a passionate advocate for local communities to participate and benefit from the digital world. He lives by the philosophy ‘see a need, fill a need’ and demonstrated this when he set up two websites for his local community to find out what was happening in their town and to promote local events. He’s now looking to build his community even further by looking for new ways to assist community groups and local businesses such as farmers’ markets to use available technology to promote themselves and their activities. Tony insists people have great stories to tell—they just need some digital assistance to get them out there—and he is helping them to do just that.

Dr Trina Myers champions the deep collaboration between university and industry that is fundamental to economic transformation through innovative ‘early-in-degree’ internships for students. She also educates Queenslanders on how to embrace digital technologies, create and adopt digital solutions and be active in a digital world. Trina has helped deliver a scheme that includes university staff and students visiting schools to run coding classes and clubs and initiating and supporting community coding and start-up events.


Yvette Adams is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of three technology businesses—The Creative Collective, The Training Collective and awardshub.com. Through a range of offline and online programs, she has developed and delivered digital skills training to thousands of businesses and individuals. Yvette’s digital skills training encourages people to participate online, become more digitally-savvy and adopt digital technologies. Yvette’s online programs have assisted people from all backgrounds and demographics including Indigenous, disabled, seniors, youth and women, equipping them with essential digital skills that help them to establish businesses online and to market them effectively.


Alison Fairleigh's work to raise the profile of mental health issues, particularly in rural and remote Queensland has led to her belief in the power of digital technology to connect people, especially those ‘doing it tough’. Her desire for social justice drives her advocacy for equity in the services available for people living and working in rural and remote Australia. She conducts regular social media workshops that help to equip people in farming communities to connect, to share their stories digitally and to get the support they need. By working to increase the digital literacy of people in remote locations, Alison is giving them the tools they need to access online mental health resources and support.

Anna Kinnane is primarily an educator and a project manager at the Queensland College of Teachers. One of Anna’s significant contributions to increasing the digital literacy of teachers was as a writer for the Australian Digital Technologies curriculum. She has been recognised for her dedication and commitment to improving understanding and skills in integrating ICT into teaching, learning and the curriculum. Anna led the design, development and implementation of the P-12 Student ICT Expectations (statewide curriculum resource) and delivered professional development in curriculum and pedagogy at state, regional andnational levels. She has been invited to speak at national conferences, forums and events to promote understanding of the curriculum and the crucial role of digital technologies.

Bernard (Bernie) O’Keefe is the Director of Marketing for Tangalooma Island Resort, an exemplary Queensland tourism business and leading adopter of digital technologies. Bernie’s enthusiasm for digital technology is transforming the way the business attracts and serves its customers and has helped to build its online reputation and overall performance. Behind the scenes, Bernie also works to improve the digital adoption culture throughout the business and enhance its day-to-day operations.

Chern’ee Sutton is a gifted and successful 19-year-old contemporary Indigenous artist based in the Wide Bay area who uses her creative talent and her digital media skills to share her culture with the world and promote the ideals of reconciliation to the community. This proud Kalkadoon woman uses her art to bring together stories of traditional Indigenous culture and young people. Many of her artworks have been transformed via digital technology into merchandise and website branding. Chern’ee is using the power and potential of digital media (websites and podcasts) to share her artwork, culture and message with the world to engage and inspire others.

Through his role as Service Development and Innovation Manager for Endeavour Foundation, Chris Beaumont uses new and innovative technologies to deliver services that foster and increase the independence, capability and satisfaction of people with a disability. Working with companies that specialise in assistive technologies, Chris and his team are working on exciting, practical software and digital tools that are cost effective, but flexible and responsive enough to meet the needs of their clients and help them to achieve as much independence as possible. Virtual reality environment platforms are now being explored to provide life skills to clients in a safe environment.

David Beitey is a passionate advocate of free and open source software and all aspects of IT security. While he actively pursues his own technology startup ideas and business concepts, he also organises, promotes and encourages people from all walks of life to participate in networking events and opportunities to learn about digital technologies. He is enthusiastic about developing the ICT community in Townsville and has been instrumental in organising a startup weekend, startup community meetup and volunteer partnership with a local college to attract more young people into technology. David is an ICT mentor and problem solver to his colleagues, researchers and other groups at James Cook University.

As Director of the JCU eResearch Centre, Professor Ian Atkinson works with researchers to apply new and ever-changing ICT tools and methods to their research to amplify their impact. He has represented Australia on federal and international bodies, presented hundreds of lectures and workshops, delivered ICT skills development programs to a wide range of community groups and championed outreach activities. Ian has been an advocate of digital technologies in North Queensland for over 30 years and has initiated many collaborations in the region. His current focus is on computational chemistry and high-performance computing.

James Novak has been nationally and internationally recognised for his innovations in 3D printing, which includes creating a 3D printed bike that has the potential to revolutionise high-performance sports equipment. He is an industrial designer, a PhD researcher and university lecturer who regularly runs workshops for students and the broader community on 3D printing and technology. James has shown a real commitment to inspiring, educating and informing Queenslanders on digital technologies via social media, educational workshops, speaking events, exhibitions and media interviews. He continues to educate and inspire the next generation of designers to embrace technologies and digital solutions.

Jennifer Nini uses digital media and her background in digital content marketing to help other businesses and to achieve her goal of ethical fashion. The tagline for the website of her digital marketing agency, The Social Copywriter, is ‘words for the greater good’. She shares her communication and digital marketing expertise with other socially responsible businesses and creates digital content for distribution to a wider audience via various digital platforms and automation tools. Jennifer’s future goal is to provide free workshops for businesses and not-for-profit organisations to encourage them to use digital media and marketing to increase their brand awareness, improve their outcomes and understand how their business is performing.

Leigh Howser has been an educator for 16 years and she is currently the head of the ICT and eLearning department at the Cairns School of Distance Education. Leigh’s passion for enhancing learning through the use of ICT has driven her to design and implement programs to support teachers, students and parents. She is also an active member of the wider ICT educators’ community and provides quality, professional development for educators in Far North Queensland via web-conferencing, online and face-to-face.

Margaret Aspin is an eLearning developer who specialises in developing digital tools and resources for learning. She spends a lot of her time as a ‘digital communicator’, talking to TAFE teachers, trainers and others about the digital economy, digital marketing techniques and using digital technologies to communicate and create networks. Margaret is also the facilitator of an innovative business network comprising TAFE Queensland, Regional Development Australia and Microsoft, which reaches out to various businesses using speakers and case studies from universities, government departments and agencies, industry associations and successful digital businesses. Margaret is an award-winning educator for the 21st century and a champion of flexible learning using digital technologies.

Melissa Westcott is a busy business woman from Central West Queensland, whois actively engaged with local groups, training and development initiatives in her regionand is a keen supporter and advocate for small business and online solutions. In addition to running her online retail store and two regional outlets, Melissa also manages her own boutique training company, advocates for digital expansion and delivers workshops that encourage businesses to use online medium for expansion. As a role model and local champion, she promotes the uptake of the digital economy within her region and is a volunteer mentor to ten small businesses as they move into the digital space.

Dr Mohan Karunanithi's goal sounds simple— use health-related digital technologies to improve chronic disease management—but his work at CSIRO in
partnership with Queensland Health is complex and innovative. He is a leader and researcher in mobile health innovation and his work assists older people in the community to use digital technologies to access and improve their health care and gain social support. Mohan’s research and accomplishments are impressive and he continues to use his experience and interest in integrating digital technology with health services to improve the health and wellbeing of Queensland seniors.

Nathan Christensen is a physics, science and engineering teacher at Kelvin Grove State College in Brisbane who uses technology to respond quickly, creatively and efficiently to individual student’s needs. His innovative teaching has made him an ICT leader at his school and he is enthusiastic about the innovative use of technologies in the classroom to replicate real-world experiences and foster deep learning, including the use of ‘flipped teaching’. He has created partnerships between his students and the Queensland University of Technology as well as an engineering firm to engage his students in ever more meaningful learning.

Sunshine Coast based, Pauline O’Sullivan is the co-founder and director of the Victus Health Nutrition Platform—a comprehensive database of healthy recipes, tailored for a range of health conditions. The database, developed by Pauline and her business partner, uses specialised meal planning software that enables health practitioners to design and deliver complex personalised nutrition plans to their patients, in minutes instead of hours. Pauline believes that new technologies can play a significant role in changing the attitudes towards healthy nutrition and improving practices to improve the health of all. As a natural collaborator with strong community values, Pauline’s innovation and willingness to adopt and share digital business solutions is recognised within her local community.

The intelligent, behind-the-scenes digital technology that Robert Friedler is responsible for makes customers happy at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. He is constantly looking for new technology solutions to ensure his customers have an amazing and education-rich experience. Robert is also using digital technology innovations behind the scenes to manage the zoo, its inhabitants and staff. His willingness to embrace new technology and implement innovative solutions is helping this business to thrive.

Rory O’Connor is the Chief Executive Officer of Yugambeh Museum, Language and Heritage Research Centre in Beenleigh, which uses digital technologies to tell the stories of the Yugambeh people of the Beenleigh area. Rory enthusiastically embraces digital technology as the most effective means of both preserving and reviving local Indigenous languages. The museum’s website provides a means for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians to engage with the Yugambeh culture. Rory was also instrumental in the development of the Yugambeh language app, the first language application for a Queensland Indigenous language. The app has since been extended to include another six languages from across Queensland. Rory is continuing to use digital technology to promote and raise awareness of Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages and cultures.

Stewart Koplick leads an exciting virtual learning environment project at Endeavour Foundation that employs a virtual reality headset with the potential to open up new worlds and ways of sharing knowledge among students and teachers alike. He enlists the help of students to co-develop new learning strategies using the latest technologies. Stewart is an experienced educator with a belief in the power of new technologies to transform the lives of people with a disability. He supports both staff and students within Endeavour’s learning community to use digital technologies in their daily lessons and advocates the use of online tools like email and social media to access and share information and to keep in touch with family and friends.

Taj Pabari is a ‘digital native’. At just sixteen years-old, he’s already an inventor, an entrepreneur, a philanthropist and an educational pioneer. He made his entrepreneurial debut at the age of 11, when he founded his first ‘company’—an electronic blogging site for children, by children. In 2014, Taj founded Fiftysix Creations, to commercialise his invention of an educational do-it-yourself tablet kit for children designed to ignite the creative spark in all children by helping them to build and customise their very own tablet. The year 12 student at John Paul College in Brisbane says he has a passion for inspiring children to embrace the world of entrepreneurship through technology and innovation.

As the owner and operator of a small business, Tanya Fisher’s goal is to provide a high-quality service for customers. To this end she uses up-to-date digital solutions in all areas of her business and reaches out to the small and medium businesses in her area to give them the skills and confidence they need to harness the power of the digital space as a way of boosting their business. Tanya plans to continue to share her administrator experience and her interest and expertise in the latest digital business solutions with her local community.