Refugee and Migrant Jobs and Skills Summit
World Refugee Day
20 June 2024

Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney

A signature thought leadership event co-hosted by SSI, Allianz, LinkedIn, Business NSW and Business Western Sydney to unleash the economic potential of skilled refugees and migrants.

Billion Dollar Benefit: The economic impact of unlocking the skills potential of migrants in Australia

In an Australian-first, this research quantifies the economy-wide impact if migrant professionals worked in jobs that match their skills at a similar rate to Australian-born workers. This research was commissioned by SSI, conducted by Deloitte Access Economics, and jointly supported by SSI, Allianz Australia, Business NSW, Business Western Sydney, and LinkedIn. We also acknowledge the independent advice provided by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA).

This report is part of the Billion Dollar Benefit, a cross-sector advocacy coalition convened by SSI to reduce employment barriers so more migrants in Australia can work in their fields of expertise and, in doing so, contribute billions to Australia’s economy.

Billion Dollar Benefit Report

In an Australian-first, this research quantifies the economy-wide impact if migrant professionals worked in jobs that match their skills at a similar rate to Australian-born workers.

Download the Report

Download the Partner Pack

“If I have the qualifications and experience required, I can do the job. Why are my skills disregarded if my experience is from overseas? This is an unfair process which means many workers like me are missing out, and businesses are not getting the workers they need.”

– Alaa Daher, Syrian refugee and Automation Engineer

Summit Program


10:00am Introduction
10:05am Welcome to Country
10:15am Scene setter – World Refugee Day Reflection: Paul Power, CEO of the Refugee Council of Australia
10:20am NGO keynote: Tharani Jegatheeswaran, Non-Executive Director at SSI
10:25am Government keynote: Hon Brendan O’Connor MP, Minister for Skills and Training
10.30am Report launch: Billion Dollar Benefit Economic Impact report

  • Report presentation: Simone Cheung, Partner at Deloitte Access Economics

Q&A moderated by Craig Foster and insights from:

  • Simone Cheung, Partner at Deloitte Access Economics
  • Andrew Barker, Senior Economist at the Committee for Economic Development Australia
  • Mustafa Agha, Executive Manager of Policy, Business NSW
  • Sandra Elhelw, CEO of Settlement Council of Australia
11:30am Business keynote: Richard Feledy, Managing Director of Allianz Australia Insurance
11:40am Scene setting panel: Overseas skills and qualifications recognition in Australia

  • Chair: Joseph Mitchell, Assistant Secretary of the ACTU
  • Laura Angus, First Assistant Secretary, Careers and International Skills, DEWR
  • Mark Morey, Secretary of Unions NSW
  • Betsy Gregg, Director of Migration Pathways, Australian Computer Society
  • Sam Matti, Infrastructure Project Manager and President of the Australian Assyrian Chaldean Syriac Advocacy Network
12:30pm Lunch
1:15pm Lived experience panel: Stories of starting again

  • Chair: Hon Andrew Giles MP, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs
  • Chantal Mousad, Financial Services Analyst and Board Member at CareerSeekers
  • Alaa Daher, Experienced Electrical Engineer Control and Automation Engineer working as a Banking Consultant at ANZ Bank
  • Dima Alkaed, Journalist and Digital Media Producer at SBS
2:00pm International spotlight: In Conversation with Steph Cousins (Global CEO of Talent Beyond Boundaries), Lesleyanne Hawthorne (Emeritus Professor at University of Melbourne) and Mei-Wah Cheng (High Commission of Canada)
2:35pm Union keynote: Joseph Mitchell, Assistant Secretary of the ACTU
2:45pm Industry perspectives: Valuing overseas experience and navigating the qualifications recognition system

  • Chair: Sarah Yassien, Director of Corporate Strategy, SBS
  • Aleem Ali, CEO of Welcoming Australia
  • Catherine Hunter, General Manager – Inclusion, Woolworths Group
  • Becky Tyler, Head of Public Sector, LinkedIn
3:30pm Afternoon tea
3:50pm Solutions workshop: Reforming overseas skills and qualifications recognition

  • Facilitator: Brad Chilcott, Founder of Welcoming Australia
  • Roundtable discussions on top actions to fix the overseas skills and qualifications recognition system
4:50pm Call to action: Dane Moores, A/g Group Head of Stakeholder Relations, Research and Policy, SSI
4:55pm Closing remarks: Dan Hunter, CEO of Business NSW

Post-summit Networking

5:30pm-7:00pm - World Refugee Day Networking Event: Unleashing the economic potential of refugees and migrants – role of industries and employers

5:30pm Opening remarks by Tharani Jegatheeswaran, Non-Executive Director at SSI
5:35pm World Refugee Day call to action: Zaki Haidari, Refugee Rights Campaigner at Amnesty International Australia
5:40pm The Diversity Dividend: Lisa Annese, CEO of Diversity Council Australia in conversation with Harriet Pope, Refugee Workforce Inclusion Leader at IKEA
5:50pm Employers spotlight

  • Faiza Shakori, Refugee Inclusion Partner at Australia Post
  • Louise Ellis, Inclusion Australia Lead at ANZ
6:00pm Closing remarks: Tharani Jegatheeswaran, Non-Executive Director at SSI
6:05pm Networking with music by Hamed Sadeghi

Key Speakers

Alaa Daher​
Experienced electrical engineer

Alaa is a Control and Automation Engineer working as a Banking Consultant at ANZ Bank.

Before the war in Syria forced Alaa to leave his homeland, Alaa completed a Bachelor of Science and Electrical Engineering/ Control from Damascus University.

In Damascus, Alaa led a large team of engineers as a Network Administrator at Syria’s National Agency for Network Services.

Since arriving in Australia in 2023, he has developed his English language skills, gained his driver’s license, had his Bachelor’s degree recognised, and completed work-readiness workshops. However, Alaa is still looking for work as an engineer, having submitted over 70 applications.

To support himself while he continued to seek work in his area of expertise, Alaa found employment with a bank as a banking assistant.

Aleem Ali​
CEO of Welcoming Australia

Aleem has spent more than 20 years seeding and mentoring the development of leading initiatives and social enterprises that advance inclusion, belonging and justice for diverse communities.

He is the Deputy Chair of Oxfam Australia and a mentor and advisor to various startups, community enterprises and government agencies.

As the CEO of Welcoming Australia, Aleem is working with leaders and organisations across the country to cultivate a culture of welcome and advance communities where people of all backgrounds can belong, contribute and thrive.

Andrew Barker​
Senior Economist at the Committee for Economic Development Australia (CEDA)

Andrew Barker is a Senior Economist at CEDA, where he leads energy, labour market and migration research.

He was previously a Senior Economist and Head of Desk in the OECD economics department, focusing on climate, labour market, productivity and housing policy.

As a Research Manager at the Productivity Commission he led economic research on water, gas and labour markets, climate policy and infrastructure access.

Andrew holds a Master of Commerce (economics) and First Class Honours degrees in economics and environmental engineering.

The Hon Andrew Giles MP​
Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, and Multicultural Affairs​

Andrew Giles was first elected to the Australian Parliament as the Member for Scullin on 7 September 2013, representing the Australian Labor Party (ALP). He is currently serving his fourth term in Parliament representing the Scullin community. ​

Andrew is the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs. ​

He previously served as Shadow Assistant Minister for Schools from July 2016 to May 2019, and as Shadow Minister for Cities and Urban Infrastructure, Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs, and Shadow Minister Assisting for Immigration and Citizenship from May 2019 to May 2022. ​

Prior to his election to Parliament Andrew was a principal lawyer at Slater & Gordon practising in employment law. He also worked as a lawyer at the firm Holding Redlich, where he acted on behalf of the asylum seekers on the MV Tampa, and in a number of political roles for the Victorian Government.

Becky Tyler​
Head of Public Sector at LinkedIn

Becky has been working within the technology, sports and media industries for over 19 years holding various positions within the Walt Disney Company and is currently Head of Public Sector at LinkedIn Australia/New Zealand. Check out Becky’s LinkedIn Profile here.

Experienced in Global Media Sales and Distribution, Digital Ad Operations, Business Development & Partnership Strategy and Sales Leadership, Becky possesses a unique ability to see opportunities from various perspectives and helps executives and businesses alike grow their capabilities and brands on LinkedIn.

In addition to her corporate roles, Becky has served as a leader of the Women@Disney employee resource group and is currently a project chair for the NSW Digital Skills Compact supporting the reskilling and upskilling of NSW citizens.

Betsy Gregg​
Director, Migration Pathways at the Australian Computer Society’s (ACS)

Betsy Gregg is a creative, people leader with over a decade of experience supporting education and migration pathways preparing international students and migrating tech professionals for work in Australia.

As the Australian Computer Society’s (ACS) Director, Migration Pathways, Betsy leads ACS’s Migration Skills Assessment and the Professional Year in IT. Since 2015, Betsy has supported multiple innovations in education delivery, tech, and customer service through ongoing collaboration and consultation with partners, educators, migrants, industry, and government.

ACS’s key aim is to grow the nation’s digital skills capabilities, industry capacity, and inspire the next generation of technology professionals. Betsy is passionate about supporting people’s journey to Australia and building pathways through skills development and industry engagement.

The Hon Brendan O’Connor MP​
Minister for Skills and Training

O’Connor migrated to Australia with his family when he was six years old in the search for a better life. He went on to have a career advocating for Victorian workers and became Assistant National Secretary of the Australian Services Union. He was elected to Parliament in 2001 and has served in a number of portfolios in the Rudd and Gillard Government including as Minister for Employment and Minister for Home Affairs and Immigration and Citizenship. In 2022 he was appointed Minister for Skills and Training under the Albanese Government.

Catherine Hunter​
General Manager of Inclusion at Woolworths Group

Catherine is the General Manager of Inclusion at Woolworths Group. In her current role, Catherine works to build truly inclusive workspaces at Australia’s largest private employer.

She has extensive experience helping large organisations navigate the risks and challenges of shifting stakeholder expectations regarding their role as a corporate citizen.

Catherine is a leader in Indigenous engagement, having achieved 3, Elevate level Reconciliation Action Plans (RAPs) and the 2014 Human Rights Business Award for KPMG Australia.

Prior to this, Catherine was a founding director and chair of the UN Global Compact Network Australia, a group dedicated to supporting businesses in taking strategic action to advance societal goals.

Chantal Mousad
Financial Services Senior Manager

Chantal is originally from Syria and moved to Australia as a refugee with her daughter Ayla in 2017 as part of the humanitarian program. She came as a single mom after fleeing to neighbouring Iraq with her family, leaving behind the pain of losing her twin children.

Previously, Chantal was the Chief Risk Officer in the Middle East. In 2018, she moved again from Brisbane to Sydney and joined the CareerSeekers program, where she had the opportunity to restart her career at Commonwealth Bank as an intern, just like any fresh graduate, to gain new knowledge in the Australian work environment.

Over time, Chantal progressed through various roles in banking, starting as an intern and moving up to become a Digital Analyst, Risk Manager in Wealth Management, and eventually taking on the role of Senior Manager in Risk with Westpac.

Furthermore, Chantal is an ambassador for Westpac Foundation, supporting HBE (Happy Brain Education) in Melbourne. She has also been actively involved in research related to refugee immigration across several universities in Australia and is a speaker in several governmental and international forums to raise awareness about how to settle refugees and gender equality.

In February 2023, Chantal joined the CareerSeekers Board after being an alumna of the CareerSeekers program in 2018.

Craig Foster
Human Rights Advocate, Broadcaster and Former Socceroo

Craig Foster AM is a well-known former athlete, broadcaster, member of the Australian Multicultural Council and Co-Chair of the Australian Republic Movement.

With 29 caps for the Socceroos including as Captain, Craig was also Captain and Club Captain of Crystal Palace FC in England, followed by a 20+ year broadcast career with SBS television, part of the triple Logie winning SBS football coverage and now with Stan Australia.

Well known for his human rights advocacy, his high-profile campaigns include the rescue of a young Bahraini refugee from the Thai Government captured in the book ‘Fighting for Hakeem’ and a new documentary film, ‘The Defenders’ on Amazon Prime Video which won most popular audience award at the Sydney Film Festival. Craig also helped many Afghan women and girls to flee the Taliban in 2021 including the Afghan women’s National football team and a group of 15 young girls which is captured in the online, award-winning film, ‘Die or Die Trying: Escaping the Taliban’ and led the successful ‘Game Over’ campaign to free hundreds of refugees offshore.

He was Australian Father of the Year in 2023 for his mentoring of youth from all cultural backgrounds, is the face of various anti-racism campaigns, is an author, speaker, human rights activist, holds a Masters in Sport and a Bachelor of Laws and in 2024 was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Laws by the University of Wollongong.

Dan Hunter
CEO of Business NSW

As the Chief Executive Officer of Business NSW, the state’s leading voice of business, Dan is committed to providing member businesses with the information, advice, products and services they need to grow and stay competitive.

Dan is passionate about the purpose-driven mission of the organisation, which aims to bring value to members, businesses, the economy and the overall community. Business NSW is uniquely placed to deliver this, whether it’s through advice, advocacy or the successful commercial businesses it successfully owns and operates. Dan strongly believes organisational culture and visible leadership are the key enablers to success.

His career has spanned finance and operational leadership roles, across both the private and public sector.
Dan holds a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Commercial Law from the University of Auckland, a Masters degree from Griffith University and is a CPA.

Dane Moores
A/g Group Head of Stakeholder Relations, Research and Policy, SSI

Dane is Head of Strategic Relations at Settlement Services International (SSI) and a Non-Resident Fellow with the Centre for Development Economics and Sustainability at Monash University. Dane initiated and leads SSI’s signature advocacy initiative called the Billion Dollar Benefit, on reducing barriers to employment facing skilled refugees and migrants in Australia.

Over the last 10 years Dane has worked in policy and advocacy roles across the public, private and NGO sectors on a range of issues, including settlement, economic participation, innovation, international development, and climate change. He is a former Rotary World Peace Fellow, Global Shaper with the World Economic Forum, and Chant Legacy Scholar with the Governance Institute of Australia.

David Borger
Business Western Sydney Executive Director

David is the Executive Director of Business Western Sydney, a not-for-profit business group representing more than 130 of the region’s largest organisations in government, industry and community. It advocates for public and private sector investment that will make the region a better place to live, work, play and learn.

David has also served as a NSW Government Minister for Roads, Housing, and Western Sydney. He currently serves on several boards including Sydney Olympic Park Authority, NRMA, Evolve Housing, and the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences.

Dima Alkaed
Journalist and Digital Media Producer at SBS

Dima is a media and communications professional with a Bachelor of Media degree from Damascus University.

She is an experienced journalist, content creator and storyteller with a demonstrated history of working in the broadcast media industry. She was a former reporter for BBC, a presenter, producer, and editor-in-chief on radios in Syria and Iraq.

Dima and her two brothers moved to Australia last year after losing their parents, leaving behind the pain of the war in Syria, and hoping for a new life in Australia.

Dima is currently a Digital Media Producer with the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) Australia in Sydney.

She began working five months after arriving in Australia, driven by her belief in journalism’s ability to create positive change. She aspires to advance her career by supporting immigrants and refugees as they begin their new lives in Australia.

Faiza Shakori
Refugee Inclusion Partner at Australia Post

Faiza arrived in Australia as a refugee from Afghanistan. Her personal, lived experience has given her passion, understanding and motivation to advocate for advancing the rights and opportunities of refugees.

Faiza brings a unique perspective to the field of refugee employment due to her experience in developing and implementing refugee employment initiatives.

She has successfully designed and implemented numerous programs, most recently at Australia Post, which have helped refugees gain pathways into employment.

She has also provided industry advice to employers and facilitated a range of employment and training opportunities.

Harriet Pope​
Project Leader (Skills for Employment, Stand for Refugees Initiative), IKEA Australia​

Harriet Pope is the national Project Leader for the IKEA Skills for Employment programme, which enables people from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds to strengthen their pathways towards stable and meaningful work in Australia.

As an innovative and values-driven leader, Harriet pioneers capacity-building projects to deliver positive, enduring outcomes for businesses and society. She is a passionate advocate for refugee inclusion and the role that employers play in promoting a positive narrative around this.

A People and Culture practitioner at heart, Harriet has led successful collaborations across sectors through strategic relationships in business, academia and community. Leveraging her 12 years of experience with IKEA, Harriet aims to inspire and unite diverse stakeholders in generating positive social change.​

Joseph Mitchell​
Assistant Secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU)

Joseph joined the ACTU in 2016, where he has been Political Director and a Policy Officer, as well as working with the Innovation and Growth Taskforces.

Most recently he led the ACTU Centre for Workers’ Capital.

Joseph grew up in Canberra and like many young Australians was a waiter through high school and university at local cafes and restaurants.

As ACTU Assistant Secretary, Joseph is passionate about winning a better future for working people and growing the union movement.

Joseph has a Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Arts from Australian National University and a Graduate Certificate in Applied Finance from the University of NSW.

Outside of work, Joseph is a proud father and a supporter of the Canberra Raiders.

Laura Angus
First Assistant Secretary/Executive Director, Careers and International Skills Division, Department of Employment and Workplace Relations

Laura Angus is the First Assistant Secretary of the International Skills Division and Executive Director of the National Careers Institute within the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations.

The division is responsible for strengthening the skills system by delivering career information and migrant skills assessment pathways to support Australia’s future workforce needs and deliver strategic value towards international skills and vocational education training.

Laura has held various senior leadership positions in the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment, Department of Social Services, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Food Standards Australia New Zealand and the New South Wales Department of Health.

Lesleyanne Hawthorne
Emeritus Professor at the University of Melbourne

Lesleyanne Hawthorne is an Emeritus Professor at the University of Melbourne. She is an expert on global skilled migration, foreign credential recognition, and factors influencing migrants’ labour market integration and retention.

In 2016-23 she led a comparative study assessing Australia and Canada’s reliance on migrant health professionals, and since 2010 she has completed cross-national policy studies commissioned by the Australian, Canadian and New Zealand governments, the International Organization of Migration, UNESCO, WHO, the International Labour Organization, the US Migration Policy Institute, the Global Forum of Federations and APEC.

Professor Hawthorne has also served on multiple global and Australian policy and regulation bodies.

Lisa Annese
CEO of Diversity Council Australia (DCA)

Lisa Annese is the CEO of Diversity Council Australia and a leading voice on diversity and inclusion in the public arena. Under her leadership, DCA delivers innovative resources to support Australian businesses in fostering a more diverse and inclusive workforce.

In 2024, Lisa was appointed to the NSW Women’s Advisory Council and reappointed to the Respect at Work Council by the Attorney-General, implementing the legislative reforms from the Respect@Work Act.

In 2018, she was named one of the AFR’s 100 Women of Influence.

Lisa also sits on the boards of Amnesty International Australia and Women for Election and is a member of Chief Executive Women.

Louise Ellis
Inclusion Australia Lead, ANZ

Louise is an experienced people leader and program manager.

She is passionate about building and providing opportunities to join the banking industry for a number of diverse cohorts as well as focussing on improving cultural safety in the workplace.

Her team runs several employment programs for people from First Nations, refugee and asylum seeker and disability backgrounds as well as leading ANZ’s Reconciliation Action Plan.

Mark Morey
Secretary of Unions NSW

Mark is the Secretary of Unions NSW, the peak body for unions in NSW. He was elected Secretary in 2016 and has extensive legal, political, industrial and community campaigning experience. He also worked for the Rail Tram and bus Union NSW Branch as its executive officer from 2005 – 2009.

Prior to entering the union movement Mark started his working life as a youth worker in the local government and community sectors.

Mark has previously been a director on Aware Super (May 2019 – October 2022) and Energy Industries Superannuation Scheme (July 2012 – May 2019) and is currently a Director of icare.

Mark holds a Bachelor of Social Work, a Masters of Social Work and Bachelor of Laws.

Mei-Wah Cheng
Counsellor (Migration), High Commission of Canada

Mei-Wah is the Counsellor for Migration at the High Commission of Canada in Canberra, Australia.

Mei Wah has over 20 years of service with the Canadian federal government and joined Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) in 2001.

Prior to her current role in Canberra, she was the executive director responsible for the strategic operation of resettlement programs at IRCC national headquarters; leading her team to support Canada’s response to the situation in Afghanistan and other resettlement initiatives of the Department.

She has also served overseas in China, Kenya, Turkey, India, and Jamaica in visa operations and migration program integrity. In Beijing (2018-2021), Mei Wah served as Migration Program Manager and Area Director for the North Asia Region and acted as team lead for the Consular Operation Support team at Wuhan to set up and complete the first assisted departures of Canadians from China due to COVID-19.

Mustafa Agha
Executive Manager, Policy at Business NSW

Mustafa Agha is the Executive Manager, Policy at Business NSW. In the role he leads BNSW’s policy agenda, focusing on positive change in the business operating environment on behalf of members at a local, state, and federal level.

Mustafa brings more than a decade’s experience in policy development as well as experience in investment management, with a strong passion for innovation and economic development.

As a born and raised Western Sydneysider, Mustafa is determined to see the region reach its full potential. He holds degrees in Medical Science, Economics & Finance, and is currently completing his MBA.

He also serves as a board member of the Western Sydney Migrant Resource Centre (WSMRC), the NSW Industry Capability Network, Mustafa also serves as an advisory board member on the Greater Parklands Parramatta Trust.

Paul Power​
CEO of Refugee Council of Australia ​

Paul Power has been CEO of the Refugee Council of Australia since 2006.

His prior work involved significant time in the NGO sector as a media officer, trainer, researcher and manager, as well as a 12-year career in newspaper as a journalist and editor.

Paul is a board member of the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN) and was appointed to the Australian Government’s Advisory Panel on Australia’s Resettlement of Afghan Nationals in 2021.​

Under Paul’s leadership, RCOA has supported the development of refugee-led advocacy networks at state, national, Asia-Pacific and global levels and continues to advocate for the rights of those seeking asylum in Australia.

Richard Feledy​
Allianz Australia Managing Director

Richard Feledy joined Allianz in 2001 and has over 35 years of experience in the insurance industry. He was appointed Managing Director in 2018 and is responsible for the overall performance of the Allianz Australia Group of companies in Australia. Prior to being appointed Managing Director, Richard held various senior roles across Allianz, including Deputy Managing Director and Chief Technical Officer.

Richard has been a Director of the Insurance Council of Australia since 2018 and is a member of the Champions of Change Coalition. He is also a Fellow of the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance & Finance (ANZIIF) and holds a Bachelor of Business from the University of Technology, Sydney.

Richard is a respected leader in the Australian insurance industry and is known for his commitment to gender equity, diversity and belonging, and customer experience and advocacy.

Sam Matti​
President of the Australian Assyrian Chaldean Syriac Advocacy Network (AACSAN), Director at the Tawasul Foundation and Billion Dollar Benefit Ambassador

Born and raised in Baghdad, Iraq, Sam arrived in Australia on a Humanitarian Visa in 2015 following personal threats from ISIS in 2013.

As a Senior Project Manager, Sam has contributed to some of Australia’s most significant infrastructure projects including the North East Link Project, Geelong Fast Rail, Melbourne Airport Rail, and the Inland Rail projects. His team won a National Project of the Year Award from the Australian Institute for Project Management in 2019.

Sam is deeply committed to social advocacy. He is a Director at the Tawasul Foundation, focused on bridging cultural, religious, and ethnic divides, and fostering understanding and acceptance across diverse communities.

Sam is also the President of the Australian Assyrian Chaldean Syriac Advocacy Network (AACSAN), where he champions the rights and well-being of the Assyrian Chaldean Syriac community.

Sandra Elhew​
CEO at Settlement Council of Australia (SCOA)

Sandra is the CEO of the Settlement Council of Australia, the peak body representing Australia’s migrant and refugee services.

The Council has approximately 130 member organisations that work with migrants and refugees to build a new life in Australia.

In her current role, she leads the sector in building an inclusive society where migrants and refugees belong and thrive.

Prior to joining SCOA, Sandra had roles working in government, and frontline social services. She is also undertaking a PhD on domestic and family violence in Australian Muslim communities.

Sarah Yassien
Director of Corporate Strategy at SBS

Sarah Yassien is the SBS Director of Corporate Strategy at SBS, responsible for Corporate Strategy, Audience Data and Insights and Audience Relations. Prior to her appointment as Director, Sarah led SBS’s digital transformation and product strategy, driving the transformation of the digital offering to deliver a deeper audience connection with SBS’s distinctive programs and services. More recently Sarah has led SBS’s innovation incubator on AI and data transformation.

With close to 20 years of industry experience, Sarah has led strategic business transformation in Australia and overseas. Previous roles include senior positions with the BBC, Amnesty International and Westpac Group.

Sarah holds a Bachelor of Business from the University of Technology Sydney, and a Master of International Studies from the University of Sydney.

Simone Cheung
Partner at Deloitte Access Economics

Simone is a first-generation immigrant from Hong Kong and a Partner at Deloitte Access Economics. She has over 15 years of experience advising governments, businesses and the not-for-profit sector on health and social issues such as the Refugee Employment Support Program and the Significant Cost Threshold for the Migration Health Requirement.

Simone co-leads the Gender Economics practice and is a key member of Deloitte’s Race and Culture working group and the Race and Culture Coalition to increase representation in corporate Australia.

Outside of work, Simone works as a photographer championing the rights of women, refugees, asylum seekers and new migrants.

Steph Cousins
Global CEO of Talent Beyond Boundaries

Steph Cousins is the Global CEO of Talent Beyond Boundaries (TBB), an organization working to make it possible for displaced people to safely migrate for work, using their skills to rebuild their lives with dignity and purpose.

Steph helped drive TBB’s start-up phase in Australia, including successfully advocating for the Skilled Refugee Labour Agreement Pilot, the first bespoke visa program for skilled refugees in Australia. She is now leading TBB’s global expansion, including successful refugee labour mobility programs in Canada and the UK and new pilots in the USA, Ireland, Belgium and elsewhere.

Steph has more than 15 years of experience in nonprofit leadership, with a focus on human rights, refugee and development issues.

She has led advocacy and external affairs teams for Amnesty International Australia and Oxfam Australia. She is a Churchill Fellow and holds a Masters in Public and International Law from The University of Melbourne.

Tharani Jegatheeswaran
Non-Executive Director

Tharani is the National Relationships Leader at Deloitte Australia. In this role, she is responsible for strengthening Deloitte’s relationships with Non-Executive Directors, C-suite, and emerging leaders across the Australian market.

Tharani is also the National Leader for Deloitte’s Social Impact Practice, a dedicated practice that works with leaders from across the eco-system to influence social impact at scale and is also the firm’s National Race & Culture leader.

Outside her Executive role, Tharani is a Non-Executive Director on a number of Boards, including the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF Australia), Settlement Services International (SSI- Australia’s largest refugee and migrant resettlement agency) and previously, the Deloitte Foundation.

She is a passionate speaker and strong advocate for social impact, profit with purpose, corporate and social sector collaboration, and diversity, equity and inclusion.

Zaki Haidari
Refugee Advocate

Zaki Haidari is a 2020 Australian Human Rights Commission Human Rights Hero, an Ambassador for the leading refugee legal centre Refugee Advice and Casework Service (RACS), and works at Amnesty International Australia as a Refugee Rights Campaigner. Zaki is also a respected commentator in the media on refugee rights.

Zaki is himself a refugee. He fled Afghanistan after being targeted and killed by the Taliban. He survived a terrifying boat journey and arrived in Australia seeking protection in 2012.

Since then, despite social, legal and financial obstacles, he has thrived. First, he learnt English, then he transformed into a human rights advocate, courageously sharing his experience with schools and the wider community, speaking out about the cruel regime of permanent temporariness faced by people like him who came to Australia by sea seeking safety.