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. 

Fiona Boyd, CEO, Heads Over Heels

Fiona has over 20 years’ experience as a C-Level executive across numerous industries and international markets, in multi- national organisations, large Australian corporates and technology start-ups and has served as Chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Council for an ASX listed company. In addition, Fiona has held Advisory roles on Innovation & Investment and Emerging Leader Programs, serving as a Business Ambassador for the Trans-Tasman Business Circle, Mentor for the UTS MBA Entrepreneur program, and non-executive Director and Advisor to emerging enterprises. Fiona’s expertise has predominantly been across E-Commerce, Digital Media, and Customer Experience solutions, with wide-reaching connections to senior business leaders in diverse industry sectors. She has developed and launched new businesses and product ventures, and has experience in technology commercialisation and international software licensing. Fiona has driven major online business transformation programs facilitating innovation and growth, and has led JV, Acquisition, and Integration strategies. Fiona holds a Global Executive MBA and a Bachelor’s degree from Sydney University, and is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, where she has also been selected for the 2016 Chair’s Mentoring Program.

Heather Catchpole, Head of Content and co-founder, Refraction Media

A dynamic and passionate advocate for science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), Heather has a background as a presenter, educator, journalist and producer. She has created national citizen science projects, interactive virtual tours, and short documentaries and has presented at science shows around the country, in the meantime establishing a reputation as an excellent journalist and editor. She worked at the ABC, Powerhouse Museum and CSIRO before becoming deputy editor and then managing editor of science magazine, Cosmos, where she was runner up best Editor (circ, >25,000) in 2012 and key to the creation of Cosmos’ award-winning app, listed by Apple as ‘best of’ for 2012. Heather is a regular speaker and guest on ABC radio, and as Refraction Media’s head of content, works with an awesome team of writers, designers and developers and with partners across the globe to develop digital products, VR stories and amazing magazines to tell stories of people who love what they do, and want to share their inspiring stories with the next generation.


Natalie Chapman, Managing Director and co-founder, gemaker

Natalie is Co-Founder and Managing Director of gemaker, a science and technology commercialisation consultancy. In 2017, gemaker won three Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards for Innovation, and the NSW Telstra Business Award for Microbusiness. Natalie is also Corporate Communications Manager for ASX-listed Alkane Resources, and a Director of Knowledge Commercialisation Australasia (KCA). Her previous work, as General Manager of Commercialisation at the Smart Services CRC, resulted in two spin-off businesses. As Leader of Business Development and Marketing at ANSTO, she provided strategic advice and managed the commercialisation of the intellectual property portfolio, including incubating new businesses and growing technical consultancy services.

Leanne Connelly, CFO and co-founder, Me3D

Leanne is co-founder and CFO of Me3D, Australia's first education company building complete 3D printing capabilities for schools to engage their students, particularly in STEM studies. Me3D in now embedded in schools across 5 states and territories and 6 export markets and has raised over half a million dollars in seed capital. Leanne is an economist, business planner and mum of 2. She is passionate about building pathways for young women to enter and succeed in technical fields and actively supports the start-up community in Wollongong. 

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 Siding Spring 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. 

Danielle Fletcher, Marketing and Strategy Director, Kimberlin Education

A marketing and design professional with a background in organisational psychology, Danielle leads the strategic and communications arm of Kimberlin Education; working closely with the creative and technology teams to design and develop innovative interactive and engaging technology platforms that bring Kimberlin’s educational programs to life. She has a Masters in Design and has worked and studied in Australia, America and Europe, before settling in Sydney as the Marketing and Strategy Director and co-owner of Kimberlin Education, a specialist education and communication agency that connects industry to the classroom. A champion for gender diversity and career progression, Danielle leads Kimberlin’s mentoring initiatives and Girls in STEM partnership programs, with the goal of engaging more girls with a career in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.

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.

Natalie Lawler, Mars-100 astronaut

Mars One is a not-for-profit foundation based in the Netherlands who intends to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars with the first crew departure in 2031.  In 2013 over two hundred thousand people from all over the globe volunteered for the one-way mission to Mars.  After a series of selection rounds the number has been whittled down to one hundred candidates, and Natalie Lawler is one of them.  The next selection process will involve an international selection round, simulation isolation and a Mars Settler Suitability Interview before the final 24 will be offered full time payed training.  Natalie is passionate about space exploration and humanity becoming multi-planetary and has volunteered to expand human presence into the solar system.  She currently resides in Brisbane and works as a High School Mathematics teacher.

Michelle Melbourne, Executive Director and co-founder, Intelledox

Michelle Melbourne is a globally-focussed technology entrepreneur who inspires and motivates others to achieve individual and organisational goals. She is passionate about the power of people and technology. Having co-founded Intelledox—one of Australia's most successful and enduring software companies—over 20 years ago, Michelle is an established thought leader in the productivity benefits that can be gained for companies, citizens and nations through the smart use of process automation technology.

She mentors entrepreneurs and business leaders in the critical importance of the effective uptake of technology and has been instrumental in driving many important new initiatives, not only in technology circles but also in influencing government policy surrounding business, innovation, and collaboration. Michelle is currently collaborating with the Australian National University’s Intelledox Digital Transformation Centre, an initiative that has put the ANU at the global forefront of digital innovation and productivity.

Michelle is a past winner of the Telstra and ACT Government’s Businesswoman of the Year Award, and her business is a multiple winner in the Telstra Business Awards, in the AiiA ACT iAwards, in the Australian Exporter of the Year Awards, in both the Deloitte Fast 100 and the BRW’s Fast 100 list and in the Anthill Cool Company Awards.

She holds a Bachelor of Science (Psychology) from the Australian National University, and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She is Deputy Chair of the Canberra Institute of Technology, a Member of the Board for the ACT Brumbies, a member of the Australian Industry and Skills Committee, and an Advisory Board Member at the Royal Australian Mint.

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.

Tim Power, Founder, Inquisitive

Tim has co-founded and created some of the world’s largest education communities: the World Education Games, World Maths Day, Mathletics and ClickView. He has also worked collaboratively with the teams at Desmos, Learnosity, Reading Eggs, High Resolves and UNICEF. Tim has recently founded Inquisitive, a start-up based in Sydney, to create the next generation of learning for students in acquiring, expressing and sharing knowledge. He is also chairman and mentor to the teams at ClickView and Stile Education. Tim was the winner of the 2015 Pearcey Foundation Benson Entrepreneur Award and the regional and national winner of the 2015 EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award (Technology category).