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Award-winning singer-songwriter and ARIA-nominated artist Kate Miller-Heidke is the 2016 QUT Alumnus of the Year.
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Award-winning singer-songwriter and advocate for humanitarian causes Kate Miller-Heidke was recognised as the 2016 QUT Alumnus of the Year.
Role model to Indigenous Australians and young mothers, QUT Young Alumnus of the Year Jessa Rogers was recognised for her ongoing service to the community.
Greg Dower is an award-winning podiatrist and entrepreneur and received a Special Excellence Award and the 2016 Faculty of Health Outstanding Alumni Award.
Paul Quilliam was recognised for his service to the community transforming paediatric palliative care in Queensland.
An innovator and leader in nutrition and dietetics, Lim Su Lin was recognised for her contribution to the nutrition profession.
Caitlin Wilson was recognised for her promotion of human rights and economic development, improving stability and security in conflict-affected countries.
Maryanne Walsh's leadership in the education community has ensured at-risk youth have access to alternative education.
Roman Quaedvlieg APM was recognised for his impressive career in law enforcement.
Innovator and entrepreneur Richard Eastes was recognised for his success growing car rental comparison site VroomVroomVroom.
Each year we award our outstanding alumni who've achieved great things in their fields since graduation. Awards include:
Kate Miller-Heidke is an award-winning singer-songwriter whose work traverses the worlds of contemporary pop, folk and opera. Kate has released 4 studio albums in Australia, achieving multi-platinum status and 8 ARIA nominations, appearing in the top 10 album and singles charts numerous times. Her latest album, O Vertigo! debuted at number 4 on the Australian album charts and broke crowdfunding records. Her previous albums include Nightflight , which reached number 2 on the ARIA chart, and Curiouser, which reached double platinum sales in Australia and spawned the multi-platinum hits 'Last Day on Earth' and 'Caught in the Crowd'. In 2009, Kate became the first Australian Artist to win the grand prize in the International Songwriting Competition for 'Caught in the Crowd'. Kate was trained as a classical singer at the Queensland Conservatorium and completed a Master of Music at QUT.
Kate's first professional performance was in 2000 as part of QUT's role in the opening of the Brisbane Powerhouse. She also performed in QUT Creative Industries' opening event in 2004, Escape, and has returned to mentor music students. Since then, Kate has appeared in many high-profile operas across the world. She recently composed her first opera The Rabbits , which was commissioned by Opera Australia. The Rabbits sold out across Australia, winning 4 Helpmann Awards including best score and best new Australian work. In 2015 Kate broke into national television, featuring in the four-part ABC mini-series The Divorce , as well as Spicks and Specks and Q&A .
A long-time advocate for humanitarian causes, Kate has worked extensively with MTV EXIT (End Exploitation and Trafficking) to raise awareness and increase prevention of human trafficking and slavery. She performed at live events for the foundation in Cambodia, Nepal and Vietnam. MTV EXIT produced a short film, Rise: A Tough Ascent , documenting Kate's efforts to fight the illicit trade. As part of her record-breaking campaign to fund the O Vertigo! album, Kate donated 5% of all income to the World Wide Fund for Nature to preserve the Great Barrier Reef. She also recorded a charity single with an Adelaide band for Bowel Cancer Australia.
Kate is now working on her next album and writing a children's opera based on a book by Academy Award winning Australian author Shaun Tan. Kate will reprise her role in The Death of Klinghoffer for the Metropolitan Opera Company in New York later this year, a role she originally performed for the English National Opera in 2012.
Jessa Rogers was recognised for her ongoing high-level achievements and service to the community. A role model to Indigenous Australians and young mothers alike, Jessa is dedicated to lifting education standards for Indigenous women. She has received national recognition and numerous awards for her cross-cultural work.
As a single mother at 16, Jessa was determined to complete her schooling and become the first in her family to receive a university qualification. She commenced at QUT at 17 and graduated in 2010 with two degrees - a Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Creative Industries - receiving first class honours. She then completed her Masters in Education and is now a PhD Scholar in Indigenous Reconciliation at The Australian National University.
Jessa is passionate about the transformative power of education and is committed to creating better educational outcomes for Indigenous youth. Her PhD focuses on the experiences of Aboriginal girls in boarding schools and last year she was appointed the inaugural Principal of the Cape York Girl Academy, Australia's first boarding school for young mothers and their babies in Far North Queensland; she is now Director of the Board.
Jessa is the youngest member of the National NAIDOC (National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee) Council, appointed by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, and regularly engages with political leaders and policy makers in relation to the advancement of Aboriginal people and Indigenous education. She is the Founding Director of the Australian Indigenous Lecturers of Initial Teacher Education (AILITE) and an active member of the More Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Teachers Initiative (MATSITI). In 2010 Jessa was the National NAIDOC Young Person of the Year, and was nominated for the Pride of Australia Medal. Jessa was a recipient of the ANU Vice-Chancellor's Award for Reconciliation and the 2015 Minoru Hokari fellowship.
Caitlin Wilson is a humanitarian and Bachelor of Business Management graduate who has dedicated her career to improving stability and security in conflict-affected countries, promoting human rights and economic development on an international scale. With a career spanning foreign policy, international development and strategic defence, Caitlin currently serves as Deputy Permanent Representative and Deputy Head of Mission, Australian Permanent Mission to the United Nations, New York.
Prior to her work with the UN, Caitlin held key roles in Canberra including as part of the team that designed Australia's contribution to the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI). She also led the G20 Development Working Group - charged with delivering Australia's international development objectives in the G20. She managed the policy development for Australia's aid programs in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands and also led the Humanitarian Emergency Response Section of the then AusAID (now part of DFAT). As Counsellor at the Australian Delegation to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Caitlin was Australia's representative to the OECD Committee, responsible for setting the standards on the provision of international aid.
Caitlin has a passion for social justice - one of her strongest community contributions has been supporting gender equality, including the education of girls in PNG and the recruitment of women in the law and justice sector of Solomon Islands. In her current role, Caitlin's work has particular emphasis on the mobilisation of Australian efforts towards improving gender equality, inclusive societies and sustainable oceans management.
Maryanne Walsh graduated from QUT with a Bachelor of Education and is a respected educator and leader. The recipient of numerous awards, she serves on key industry boards and is currently Principal of Centenary Heights State High School (CHSHS), with responsibility for over 1,600 students across 3 campuses.
In addition to its mainstream campus, CHSHS has an award-winning Flexi School that caters to at-risk youth who have become disenfranchised with mainstream education. CHSHS's core belief is that every child deserves an education, and the Flexi School embodies this by catering to those who might not otherwise complete school. When Maryanne joined CHSHS, the Flexi School had a poor reputation among the community. She challenged this, determined to promote alternative education and connect with students so they felt valued for their success.
Maryanne's leadership in bringing the community on board for the school has been credited as inspirational. She has cultivated links with Council, Rotary and other agencies, with many belonging to 'Friends of Flexi', a group formed to support the school. Maryanne has developed a memorandum of understanding between the University of Southern Queensland and Flexi School, leading to a research program for alternative education frameworks. She oversaw the development of a mentoring program involving the Toowoomba Older Men's Network, which was awarded the NAB Schools First Award for Community Partnership. Maryanne ensures that the School can boast real achievement, assist young people to develop positive self-esteem and has made it a community initiative, owned and supported by the community.
Outside of CHSHS, Maryanne is involved in many community organisations and is an active volunteer and fundraiser. She received the Paul Harris Fellowship Award by Rotary International for services to the community, and was named one of Queensland's 50 top thinkers for facilitating the education and development of 1,350 students.
Greg Dower is an award-winning podiatrist and entrepreneur, widely recognised for his significant contributions to the field of podiatry and for providing a benchmark for podiatry practice worldwide. Having graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Science (Podiatry), Greg's passion led him to cofound my FootDr, Australia's largest and most-trusted podiatry group, treating over 75,000 patients across 20 clinics in Australia, Singapore, Indonesia and China. His entrepreneurial spirit and enthusiasm for excellence in clinical outcomes has seen him pioneer podiatric technologies that have been adopted worldwide.
Greg pioneered the computer-aided design and manufacture of orthotic devices, which revolutionised his practice and is now used globally. In 2009, Greg identified a game-changer in the treatment of fungus nails by leading the development of laser nail surgery. His investment in this technology has improved patient outcomes and driven the entire profession forward.
A key focus of Greg's work has been aiding the Institute of Urban Indigenous Health's (IUIH) Podiatry program, by accessing leading technology and footwear provision for 30,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals. Greg and his my FootDr co-founder have partnered with IUIH and Brisbane Metro North Primary Health Network to help 'Close the Gap' by reducing amputation rates for Indigenous Australians with diabetic foot complications.
Under Greg's leadership, my FootDr is the naming rights sponsor of the my FootDr Queensland Bulls and official podiatrists of the Australian men's and women's cricket team, Queensland Athletics and Brisbane Heat. Greg himself has been integral in the podiatric management of athletes such as Chris Gayle.
Committed to the profession, Greg has maintained ties with QUT as a clinical supervisor, guest lecturer and curriculum review panel member. He speaks at industry events, held the Chair as State Representative for the Australian Podiatric Sports Medicine Assoc., and is often called upon as an expert witness for legal cases involving podiatric injury.
QUT Justice Studies graduate Roman Quaedvlieg APM was appointed the inaugural Australian Border Force (ABF) Commissioner in 2015. This high-profile appointment, responsible for protecting Australia's physical frontline, followed his already impressive and honourable career in law enforcement. Having served in a number of senior roles for the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Australian Crime Commission and Queensland Police Service, Roman was awarded an Australian Police Medal in 2011 for serving the Australian community with distinction.
Roman's achievements include leading investigations into major criminal activity such as drug trafficking, people smuggling and child sex tourism offenses. As AFP Chief of Staff, he led a 1,000-strong United Policing Model Workforce delivering enforcement services at major Australian airports. As Chief Police Officer of ACT Policing, he introduced compulsory mental health training for frontline police officers, putting clinicians into the field to assist staff in need.
As ABF Commissioner, Roman is responsible for managing all border operations, including civilian maritime security, immigration compliance, intercepting prohibited imports, maintaining the good order of detention facilities and combating border-related crimes.
Roman continues to be a leader in policy development through current and previous roles as board member, chair and co-director of many professional bodies, including the Australian Crime Commission and the Ministerial Council for the Administration of Justice. He is also an active campaigner against violence against women as a White Ribbon Ambassador.
Richard Eastes is an innovator and entrepreneur, driven by ideas and how they can be marketed for success. Just two years after graduating from QUT with a Bachelor of Information Technology, he helped grow car rental comparison site VroomVroomVroom from a small start-up company in his bedroom to a multi-national organisation with a $60 million per annum turnover.
After identifying a niche in the online car rental market, Richard used the $50,000 he had saved for a house deposit to buy a share in VroomVroomVroom, investing in digital technology and customer service tools to grow the business with his partners. In the first three years, the company grew 388% and became one of the fastest growing online travel companies - winning the Deloitte Fast 50 Award 4 years in a row. VroomVroomVroom is Australia's leading car rental comparison site with growing influence overseas. Richard's use of strategic search engine optimisation techniques and online marketing to build the brand is a testament to his passion, vision and the skills he acquired while studying IT at QUT.
Excited by start-ups, the growth stage and building brands, Richard has worked on a number of other start-ups including Captain Compare and ShadeGuide. His latest endeavour is GreenSocks, which uses modern technology to change the way gardening services are delivered in Australia. Since its 2015 inception, GreenSocks has facilitated the mowing of hundreds of lawns, benefiting mowers and time-poor customers alike. Committed to building the GreenSocks brand, Richard hopes to enter the American market in the near future.
A well-regarded member of the start-up community, Richard mentors aspiring entrepreneurs at Brisbane's River City Labs, connects and advises others through his blog and has been a guest speaker at local schools, sharing insights on entrepreneurship and digital technology. He is currently writing a book on surprise marketing - featuring examples from his own experiences as a business owner.
Paul Quilliam joined the QUT Executive MBA program as a School IT Manager with hopes to further his career in educational management. Instead, he leveraged the skills and networks he acquired to transform paediatric palliative care in Queensland.
When Paul and his wife Gabrielle began fostering children with complex, high-care needs, it became evident that Queensland had no respite and hospice facility for families with terminally ill children. With more than 50 Queensland families losing a child to terminal illnesses each year and thousands more living with life-limiting conditions, Paul decided to do something about it. Now, through Paul and Gabrielle';s dedication and sacrifice, Queensland's first children's hospice, Hummingbird House, has completed construction in north Brisbane.
In 2011, Paul resigned from his job to dedicate himself to establishing Hummingbird House under the aegis of Queensland Kids. He sold his house and self-funded the venture, drawing upon relationships from his QUT Executive MBA program cohort to appoint board members. Paul deeply engaged with stakeholders and solicited the expertise of many QUT Business School alumni to develop a robust business case and secure corporate support, including from 160 Coles supermarkets that now fundraise for Hummingbird House annually.
Paul established links at national and international levels, triggering federal inquiries into palliative care. In a landmark decision, it was recommended that a children's hospice be established in Queensland, with Paul securing $11 million in government funding. After establishing a partnership with Wesley Mission to build the hospice and securing pro-bono services from a fundraising firm, Hummingbird House has become a reality.
Thanks to Paul and Gabrielle, countless families will benefit as politicians and community leaders explore replication of Hummingbird House to service rural and remote Queensland. Beyond the hospice, Paul continues to give back to QUT through advisory and mentorship roles for EMBA cohorts and he represented QUT at the Association of MBA's Global Leadership Summit, promoting the benefits of an MBA education.
Dr Lim Su Lin is widely recognised as an innovator and leader in the field of nutrition and dietetics, having developed revolutionary patient screening tools that have been implemented across Asia. As one of the first dietetic practitioners in Singapore to undertake a PhD, she completed her QUT doctoral studies externally in conjunction with her role as Chief Dietician and Senior Assistant of the Dietetics Department at the National University Hospital (NUH), Singapore.
Dr Lim is best known for designing the '3-minute Nutrition Screening' tool as part of her thesis. The tool is now used to screen every patient admitted to NUH to identify those at risk of malnutrition and ensure appropriate treatment and has been widely implemented in hospitals and nursing homes across Singapore and Malaysia. Her other pioneering achievements include Singapore's first post-discharge ambulatory nutrition support service, the Expedited 10g Protein Counter, the Diabetes Control Program and Cholesterol Lowering Program, all of which have vastly improved patient outcomes and lowered readmission rates.
A strong believer of public education on health issues, Dr Lim conducts lectures and programs to promote healthy lifestyles and chronic disease prevention. She manages NUH's Health Education Hub, delivering weekly public presentations, and in 2014 she initiated 'Dietician's Choice' shelves as a convenient area within supermarkets for healthy grocery shopping. An advocate for good nutrition, she maintains a high media profile, with more than 60 media contributions over the past decade.
Dr Lim has adjunct status at QUT, with 18 publications - including a landmark paper that has been cited 105 times with hundreds of full-text downloads. She has also established clinical and research placement programs in Singapore hospitals for students from QUT and Flinders University, which have been major contributors to workforce development and meeting the need for dietetic services in Singapore.
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