Best known for co-inventing VRML (Virtual Reality Modelling Language), Pesce has written 6 books, founded postgraduate programs in interactive media at both USC (University of Southern California) and AFTRS (Australian Film, Television and Radio School), and for seven years appeared as a panelist on the ABC’s The New Inventors.

Pesce currently hosts The Next Billion Seconds, Australia’s #1 podcast on the future.



Inspired by a childhood love of the natural world, her breakthrough work focused on sending unmanned aerial vehicles to remote areas of coastline to observe endangered turtle colonies. She continues to help businesses make informed choices about the preservation of native species.

Since winning Telstra’s Queensland Business Woman of the Year, she has advocated for diversity in all spheres of work and life. She is an innovator, a scientist, a business woman, a champion of change, and above all, a communicator.



Dr. Jenine Beekhuyzen is a futurist who’s always questioning what will serve us best in tomorrow’s digital landscape.

With her 15 plus years of internationally published academic research and university teaching, 8 years as CEO of her own technology consulting company, and her work with her not for profit to prepare our school children to be technology leaders of the future, she certainly knows a thing or two about the future of digital technology.

As an author of the Tech Girls Are Superheroes series of books, her passion lies with inspiring young girls into technology careers. She has reached more than a quarter of a million children with her innovative approach to storytelling and STEM. She also supports youth entrepreneurship through her national competition – the Search for the Next Tech Girl Superhero – reaching more than 2000 school girls in 2017.

Jenine’s unwavering commitment to advocacy has seen her awarded many times over on the world stage as a Westpac/Fairfax 2016 100 Woman of Influence, the 2016 Griffith University Sciences Alumnus of the Year and many more. Microsoft has even named her Community Educator of the Year.


Jan has spent the past 25 years growing the youth, social enterprise and innovation sectors. In 2012 she was named Australia’s inaugural Australian Financial Review and Westpac Woman of Influence.

Jan has been awarded honorary degrees (honoris causa) from the University of Sydney (DLitt) and Murdoch University, Western Australia (DUniv); and was awarded membership to the Order of Australia in 2000. She is the author of Every Childhood Lasts a Lifetime (1996) and The Future Chasers (2014). Jan is currently the CEO of the Foundation for Young Australians; was previously Executive Director of Social Ventures Australia; and Founder and CEO of the CREATE Foundation.


Emma started off her career as an Early Childhood Educator then at the age of 30 decided to further develop her skills and study by completing a Bachelor of Adult Education, majoring in HR at The University of Technology, Sydney.

Once the degree was completed, new doors started to open and Cisco was the company that saw her excellent mix of community and people skills and adult learning theory to hire her to start up a Training and Development framework for the 1,800 Partners that on sell Cisco.

That then lead her to her next project that has been keeping her busy for the last 6 years. That is the work she is currently doing within the Cisco’s Social Innovation Group The work includes:

  • Implementing Community Enablement projects in the region using Cisco Networking Academy Program as a platform. Cliental consists of Public Sector Education Partners and non-for-profit organisations.
  • Building workforce development initiatives with ICT Industry to create a pipeline of talent and skills in entry level roles.
  • Supporting human capital development by working with High Schools, TAFE’s, Polytechnic’s, and Universities adopting and running Cisco entry level certification.

Emma also supports a great initiative of Cisco in ANZ being the Women in Technology forums that are a part of the series called ‘Women Rock IT’.

“Women Rock-IT” live TV broadcasts have speakers that have challenged stereotypes and turned their passion for technology into rewarding and successful careers. The speakers are in different stages of their career and from different occupations and businesses.


Andrew is a senior manager and engineer with over 25 years’ experience in aerospace design and sustainment projects.

Andrew joined BAE Systems in 1999, when he was seconded to the United Kingdom to join the design team for the Australian Hawk Lead-In Fighter Aircraft. In 2005 Andrew was appointed Engineering Manager for the RAAF Hawk Lead-In Fighter program.

In 2013 Andrew took on the role of Head of Engineering for BAE Systems Australia’s Aerospace Business Unit. Andrew was appointed F-35 Program Director in 2017. Andrew is a champion for integrated safety and diversity & inclusion.


Ryan has extensive experience as a commercial lawyer in IP-focused environments and spent the early part of his legal career working in the film, TV and multi-media industry in the UK

On moving to Australia in 2003, Ryan broadened his areas of legal practice to encompass work in software and technology licensing. In 2010, Ryan joined Bohemia Interactive Simulations as Group General Counsel, and in 2011 was also appointed as MD for the Asia-Pacific arm of the group, where he is building on the stellar growth the business has experienced in the past few years.


Norman Ballard, electronics engineer, self-proclaimed Technocrat, Innovator, and problem solver currently works at Hummingbird Electronics.

After completing a Master’s Degree in Electronics Engineering at the University of Cape Town, Norman worked as an design engineer at General Electric where he learned good design practice and the importance of rigorous systems; he then moved into the world of sales, working for Avnet Electronics as a Product manager and then as Director of the Semiconductor Division. A later move to Motorola, a global semiconductor manufacturer, exposed Norman to best and worst practices in thousands of small and medium sized manufacturing businesses.

After a move to Australia, Norman used his experience in design, sales and business to establish Hummingbird Electronics. Hummingbird electronics enjoyed significant growth, becoming well known for delivering innovative electronics solutions in the automotive sector. Hummingbird Electronics was the recipient of the 2014 Business of the Year award in the Hunter Region Business Excellence Awards and was acquired by Adelaide-based advanced manufacturer REDARC Electronics in May 2015.

Norman remains with Hummingbird Electronics where he is responsible for growth through innovation. He uses his position to promote innovation and good business practice in the Hunter at every available opportunity.


Karen’s is a new role within TAFE NSW. She is an engineer and teacher, and has a particular passion for embedding lean principles in the workplace. As an engineer she has worked in industrial research, and various manufacturing environments within BHP. Within TAFE she has worked as both a teacher and leader and is focused on creating opportunity and pathways into STEM jobs through vocational education.

Karen has over 25 years’ experience in manufacturing engineering and education and now heads up an area which will enable industry and TAFE to come together to design training that looks to the future. She knows that this will only occur through strong partnerships and collaborative efforts with individuals and companies that are also seeking to transform and innovate within the manufacturing sector.


Dave Bonzo is a teacher with more than 25 years of experience in the TAS KLA. He pioneered the development and implementation of the iSTEM course at St Philip’s Christian College (Newcastle), a demonstration school for this subject.

In 2015, he was interviewed by ABC national news with regard to the highly successful Manufacturing Education programme that began in the Hunter Region. Dave enjoys piloting innovative new programs in STEM education, and recently presented at the STEM in Defence Summit in Canberra, on successful examples of school-based STEM education. He actively liaises with local industry through the Hunter Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (AI Group).


Tim Askew is the City Revitalisation Coordinator at Newcastle City Council, leading a diverse team of professionals covering Economic Development, Smart City, Destination Marketing, City Revitalisation, Place Making and Energy and Resource Management.

While only being in the role for 2 years Tim has worked at Council for over 8 years previously managing the Hunter Street and Coastal Revitalisation Programs. Prior to working in government, Tim worked over 20 years in the private sector working in strategy, project management and finance across Manufacturing, Health, Insurance and Education sectors.