Galaxy Convention speakers

Professor Margaret Barbour, Faculty of Science Associate Dean - Research, University of Sydney

Professor Margaret Barbour holds a BSc in Biology and Earth Sciences, an MSc in Biology from the University of Waikato, New Zealand, and a PhD in Plant Science from the Australian National University. Her research interests focus on plant response to the environment, working in both natural and agricultural ecosystems.  In 2010 Margaret joined The University of Sydney as an ARC Future Fellow in biosphere-atmosphere interactions. 


  Solange Cunin, CEO and co-founder, Cuberider

Solange Cunin, 24, is the CEO and founder of leading STEM education start-up, Cuberider. She led Cuberider to launch Australia's first and only involvement in the International Space Station in 2016, and has since inspired thousands of students by giving them access to the space. She's played a role in establishing education outreach programs for Sidings Springs Observatory and ANU, and is an advocate for quality STEM education for all students. Solange studied a Bachelors in Mathematics and Aerospace Engineering at University of New South Wales after moving from her family's home in regional NSW to follow her dreams of working in the space industry. 


Dr Ilana Feain, CEO and co-founder, Nano-X

Dr Ilana Feain (PhD Physics) is founder and CEO of Nano-X. She leads all aspects of the technology development and is also a senior research fellow in the School of Medicine at the University of Sydney. Ilana is also a world-renowned astrophysicist and the recipient of the Inaugural L’OREAL Australia Women in Science Fellowship.


Maureen Frank, Chief Disruption Officer and founder, emberin

Maureen is an entrepreneur, speaker, best selling author, and proud founder of emberin 12 years ago. As a global leading international diversity and inclusion expert, she has mentored over 30,000 individuals and has over 20,000 followers on LinkedIn. She has spoken at conferences in five continents around the world, most recently at the 2017 Inclusive Leadership Global Conference.

She's a highly successful businesswoman: former Head of Mergers and Acquisitions for Aon in the UK and Australia, Telstra Business Woman of the Year 2004, and BRW Rising Star. Maureen has established over a dozen diversity councils in major organisations, personally coached CEOs and supported clients to achieve real business results - including increasing the number of women in senior roles in record time:

Telstra - from 6% to 31% in just 2 years

Aurizon - from 8% to 13% in just 2 years

Bank of Queensland - from 11% to 22% in just 2 years

Transpacific - from 8% to 19% in just 1 year

Maureen’s clients have won multiple awards, including two global Catalyst awards, acknowledging emberin as the cornerstone of success. Maureen pioneered the scalable engagement of men in the diversity and inclusion conversation globally, and supported founding the Queensland Male Champions of Change. She continues to engage CEO’s and leaders every week in understanding how inclusion enables not just diversity – but also engagement, innovation and collaboration. She works with clients in many male-dominated industries, such as technology, mining and energy.


Dr Dharmica Mistry, co-founder and Chief Scientist, BCAL Diagnostics

Dr. Dharmica Mistry is co-founder and Chief Scientist of BCAL Diagnostics, a small Australian biotechnology company developing a revolutionary blood test for the detection of breast cancer. Dharmica holds a BSc(Hons) from Sydney University, majoring in Microbiology, and has completed a PhD at Macquarie University that was based on examining the association of lipids in hair and serum with the presence of breast cancer. Dharmica is an inventor on one of the Company’s founding patents and manages the scientific operations of the company. Dharmica has worked in the Australian biotechnology industry since 2007. In 2015 Dharmica graduated with a distinction from the NSW Health Medical Devices Commercialisation Training Program. In 2016 Dharmica was the recipient of the “NSW Young Woman of the Year” award for which she was nominated by the Minister of Health, Jillian Skinner. She was also announced as Young Executive of the Year (2016) in Australia by the Australian Financial Review (AFR) Boss Magazine and winner of the “InStyle (Magazine) Women of Style Awards” in the category of Science (2017). 


Professor Tara Murphy, COO and co-founder, Grok Learning

Tara Murphy is an astrophysicist working at the University of Sydney and is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow. She leads an international team of researchers trying to detect and study transient and highly variable astrophysical phenomena with the MWA and ASKAP radio telescopes in Western Australia. In particular, she is interested in developing and applying novel computer science techniques to data-intensive research. Tara is also passionate about teaching and high school outreach. In 2014 she co-founded a start-up company, Grok Learning, to get high school students around the world excited about computational thinking.


Deb Noller, CEO and co-founder, Switch Automation

Deb Noller grew up in a family of builders. She spent her childhood hiking New Zealand’s South Island National Parks, and ended up studying environmental management in university. She soon realized her knack for technology and finished her studies in the technology field. Noller is now the CEO and cofounder of Switch Automation. When our company was small, that meant anything from washing dishes, to CFO-duties and everything in between including, sales, marketing, after sales support, writing documentation and fundraising. As we grow, Noller worked to grow and develop efficient teams that are both technically competent and enjoyable to be around.

Switch Automation utilises the Internet of Things to collect, process and manage data for portfolios of buildings. The Switch Platform and Engineering Service team helps a range of facilities management, energy management and engineering professionals understand building performance, employ fault detection and diagnostics and execute real-time control and command. Our aim is to make smart buildings the new business norm. 

As a dynamic leader, Noller believes in nurturing talent and mentors other women in business and technology to help them achieve their goals. In 2013, Noller was one of eight women in the inaugural Springboard Australia program, an initiative that mentors and coaches women who lead high-growth businesses.


Sara Rickards, Co-founder, Re:purpose for Good

Sara Rickards is the Co-founder of Re:purpose for Good and the Program Manager at The Centre for Sustainability Leadership. She is trained as both a Biomedical Scientist & Environmental Engineer. Sara is a passionate connector, putting purpose and positive impact at the core of everything she does. She is on a mission to unlock human potential and specialises in creating connected and conscious communities. In a previous life she was the Education For Sustainability Manager at Macquarie University, Co-host for the Un-school of Disruptive Design and Associate Editor of the International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education.


Professor Daniel Shaddock, CEO and founder, Liquid Instruments

Daniel Shaddock is a Professor in Physics at the Australian National University in Canberra. After completing his PhD at the ANU in 2001, he moved to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory to work on the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna Mission where he served as NASA’s LISA Interferometer Architect. Now back at ANU, his research focusses on techniques for precision measurements using lasers and advanced signal processing. The applications of his research include ground and space-based gravitational wave detection, mapping the Earth’s gravity with satellites, tracking space debris in the Earth’s orbit, and free-space laser communications. Daniel is also the CEO and founder of Liquid Instruments, an Australian company that makes test and measurement equipment for research, education and industrial applications.


Anastasiia Volkova, CEO and co-founder, FluroSat

Anastasiia Volkova is an aeronautical engineer completing her PhD in autonomous drone navigation. She has experience ranging from projects with the NASA robots on board the International Space Station to managing a 370 person team for UEFA. Anastasia has recently been awarded an Amelia Earhart Fellowship for her commitment to advancing the application of aerospace engineering. Her passion for real-world applications has found expression in FluroSat, a start-up which has been accepted as a Cicada Innovations portfolio company and is now monitoring farms using drones and satellites in five states in Australia.


More speaker announcements coming soon!