Melbourne Asia Game Changer Awards 2023 - Finalists
Arts, Culture, & Education
Associate Professor and Co-Founder,
Critical Minerals Consortium,
Mohan Yellishetty, an Associate Professor at Monash University's Department of Civil Engineering, boasts extensive research and academic expertise spanning nearly three decades across esteemed institutions such as Monash University, CSIRO, Yale University, and IIT Bombay.
Recognized as a leading authority in Sustainable Mineral Resources and Global Thought Leader, A/Prof Yellishetty's research interests encompass diverse areas including Critical Minerals, Mine Rehabilitation and Closure, and Mine Tailings and Waste within the framework of the Resources Trinity. His significant contributions extend to the application of sustainability frameworks and tools in the mining industry, industrial ecology, life cycle thinking, substance flow, and material flow analysis, alongside the assessment of critical and strategic mineral supply chains. Notably, his research group's pioneering work includes the development of the world's first agent-based dynamic criticality model and the establishment of an Australian-first geospatial database encompassing all known active and inactive hard rock mine sites nationwide.
A/Prof Yellishetty's impactful research has influenced industry practices and public policy, evident through his contributions to Federal and State Government committees focusing on critical minerals, mine rehabilitation, and tailings management. His research has garnered significant public, media and policy attention, with coverage in reputable platforms such as The Conversation, Australian Geography, illumine, Quarry Magazine, Australian Resource and Investment and Australian Mining. Furthermore, his insights have been sought regularly by major media channels including Al Jazeera English, ABC News, What Happens Next? Podcosts and while his op-eds have been featured in various publications, showcasing his global thought leadership.
The Island Foundation
Courtney Saville is from Melbourne and has worked in international development for 12 years with a strong focus on Indonesia. Courtney first visited Indonesia as a student in 2008, taking part in the one year Australian Consortium for In-Country Indonesian Studies (ACICIS) program, and then again in 2015 as a Victorian Government Hamer scholarship recipient. In 2017, Courtney led the expansion of The Fred Hollows Foundation into Indonesia out of Lombok, and is currently Executive Director of The Island Foundation.
The Island Foundation is a Singapore international charitable organisation and works in partnership with Yayasan Peduli Kepulauan Indonesia in the Riau Islands and beyond. Since joining in late 2019, Courtney's expertise in strategic planning, program design and organisational development has revitalised The Island Foundation and positioned its program and 20 employees for success. With a mission to transform education in Indonesia's small island and coastal communities and a strong commitment to grassroots service provision, The Island Foundation is providing direct learning interventions for 550 students, training 200 teachers, and engaging 3,000 members of the community under the organisation's flagship Learning for Sustainability program each year.
Learning for Sustainability is an integrated systems strengthening model that involves stakeholders across the learning ecosystem. The Island Foundation works directly with primary school students, parents and communities, kindergarten and school teachers, and government departments to improve student learning experiences and outcomes. Across Indonesia, the majority of graduates leave school without the skills necessary for employment and empowered lives. In response, Learning for Sustainability is designed to support students to develop confidence, critical thinking, collaboration and creativity through a bespoke framework that prioritises locally relevant themes of culture, environment and livelihoods and is delivered through outdoor and experiential learning, project-based learning and content-based language learning methods. All childhood learning and teacher training materials delivered under Learning for Sustainability are designed by professional educators with input from The Island Foundation's learning facilitators and local partners - this way, the program is based in recognised pedagogy while celebrating the diverse values, experiences and languages of children who live in remote small island and coastal communities.
Courtney is proficient in Bahasa Indonesia and holds a MSc (Environmental Management and Sustainability), BA (Hons) and LLB.
Fides Mae Santos and Grace Guinto
About Fides Mae Santos, Co-Founder
Fides is a seasoned project director, government and business advisor, specialising in strategy, marketing, and economic development within the public sector, as an independent consultant and as co-founder of The Entree.Pinays and Merkado by The Entree.Pinays. Entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation is in her DNA. Fides dreams of growing a thriving calamansi orchard powered by agritech and community, opening the most delicious Filipino food emporiums, where cultural advocacy meets enterprise, and sharing an extraordinary tale on the TED Talk stage.
About Grace Guinto, Co-Founder
Grace is the storyteller and community outreach for The Entree.Pinays, who believes that good food is more than just a delicious indulgence—it is a powerful instrument of representation. When she's not busy fulfilling her corporate role at an ASX listed retailer on data and digital transformation initiatives, or helming The Entree.Pinays, Grace can be found whipping up a storm in her very own kitchen as the owner and chief baking officer of Sweet Cora. An ode to her late mother Corazon, the bakery specialises in American and Australian bakes with a Filipino accent.
About The Entree.Pinays
Meet The Entree.Pinays: A dynamic force of Filipina-Australians igniting a culinary revolution. Daughters of Filipino migrants and raised in the vibrant western suburbs of Melbourne, they are forging a new path for Filipino cuisine, culture, and community on Wurundjeri country. No longer waiting for a seat at the table, they are building their own and inviting all of Australia to join them. Co-Founders Fides Mae Santos and Grace Guinto are the visionaries behind the pioneering legacy project, The Calamansi Story, backed by the Australia-ASEAN Council of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. This three-part community-first endeavor celebrates the rich contributions of Filipino migrants in the realm of food, while educating Australians about the possibilities of Filipino produce, promote Australia's multiculturalism and contributions to the ASEAN region, and inspire hope, possibility and action for the future of Filipino cuisine, culture, and community. The project secured 147 media placements with a total reach of 3.75 million, and the YouTube short documentary has garnered 318,000 views to date. From their historic BARRIO event for Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2019 to their resilience during COVID-19 launching virtual series In My Kusina and Coffee & Chikahan, they connect leaders in food, business, and creative sectors to foster a global community and move Filipino food and culture forward. Merkado by The Entree.Pinays is a purpose-driven online marketplace that celebrates all things Filipino-made and the circularity of good. Their social impact has supported domestic workers in Hong Kong, local Filipino international students, to communities in the Philippines and South East Asia. This includes AGREA PH, the recipient of the sale proceeds from The Calamansi Story, which puts women at the centre of the movement for better agriculture and rural development. A foundation that teaches Filipinas that farming is a way "...to cultivate their dreams beyond cultivating the land." The Entree.Pinays' work has been recognised by the Philippine Embassy, Gourmet Traveller Honour List and featured on SBS Food, ABC, The Guardian Australia, The Age, Frankie Magazine, Gourmet Traveller, Herald Sun, Australian Financial Review, Broadsheet Melbourne, and in-flight magazines Mabuhay (Philippine Airlines) and Smile (Cebu Pacific).
Founding Partner and CEO,
Francisco Widjojo is the CEO of Arkblu Capital, a multi-asset private investment group that invests and manages a global business and investment portfolio. Under Francisco’s leadership, Arkblu Capital has led investments in Southeast Asia’s most prominent technology startups, scaleups and venture capital funds, including Hypefast, Southeast Asia’s largest house of digital native brands.
Splitting his time between the group’s Jakarta and Sydney offices, Francisco dedicates his time to countless international business initiatives bridging Australia and Southeast Asia, including most recently being the Indonesian Partner for the Investment NSW-funded Southeast Tech Immersion Mission, serving as the Indonesia Country Ambassador for the Sydney Landing Pad, and serving on the NSW Committee of the Australia Indonesia Business Council. Francisco is a highly sought-after speaker and thought leader on Indonesian business and investment affairs, and is regularly invited to panel discussions and roundtables with Australian and Indonesian corporates, DFAT, the Australian Embassy (Jakarta), and Asia Society.
Francisco is a Business NSW Young Business Leader Finalist, and commenced his career as a corporate lawyer specialising in M&A and equity capital markets.
Head of Public Policy and
Government Relations APAC,
In a career spanning the business, government and nonprofit sectors, Penny has held leadership positions in the Asia Pacific with global multinationals including Visa Inc, Stripe,the digital payments company, and McKinsey&Company. She was Group CEO of Australia’s leading center for Asia engagement, Asialink, where she led a range of initiatives designed to strengthen Australia's business engagement with SE Asia and contributed to efforts by the Australian Government on trade and investment engagement with the region.
Penny has been an executive board member with key business associations and nonprofits in Southeast Asia including the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) Singapore, and the Singapore Institute of International Affairs. Penny’s current appointments include Board Member at the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council, the Asian Business Trade Association, the ASEAN-Australia Strategic Youth Partnership, and the Melbourne School of Government.
Penny was awarded the Australian Chamber of Commerce (AustCham) Singapore President’s Medal in June 2023 in recognition of her service to the Australia-Singapore business relationship.
A former senior diplomat, Penny represented Australia in Southeast Asia (including in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia), and the United Nations in Geneva and New York. She also served as a senior Asia Advisor to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. She speaks Malay and Indonesian.
Co-founder and Director,
William is an agricultural systems, open innovation, AgTech strategy and policy practitioner. His quest is to unleash the potential for agriculture to be the leading force for good.
William co-founded Beanstalk, a pioneering innovation agency dedicated to the advancement of a sustainable, ethical and resilient global food system that feed our people nutritiously and regenerate our planet. Over the past decade, William has helped to establish regional projects to pave the way for emerging agricultural technologies into the region especially across Southeast Asia, South Asia and the Pacific. Prior to Beanstalk, William worked extensively across senior Government policy roles focused on agriculture development, resource management, climate policy, and Asia relations.
In 2019, Will was selected as "40 under 40: Most Influential Asian-Australian", he was a past Committee Member on the Australia-India Youth Dialogue, and a delegate on the Australia-Vietnam Leadership Dialogue.
Royal Thai Consulate Melbourne
Tessa Sullivan is an award-winning lawyer and Officer of the Supreme Court of Victoria, a qualified mediator and arbitrator certified by the Australian Centre for Justice Innovation and a casual academic and lecturer of law at the University of New England.
Tessa was born and raised in Thailand, educated in Singapore and finished her tertiary education in Australia, France, Italy and the United States of America. She speaks four languages and is a married mother-of-three.
Tessa worked as a journalist with the Bangkok International Film Festival, the Government of Thailand and Network Ten. She is currently studying her second Masters at Harvard University under the David Nason Scholarship by the American Australian Association. Tessa has also completed a Monash University law scholarship in Prato, Italy. Tessa also has a Bachelor of Arts, a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Laws (Juris Doctorate) from Monash University.
Tessa was awarded the Marjorie Glasson Award for Community Service and the Rubridge Award for Excellence with her study thesis into Japanese Noh theatre. Tessa also won the Silver medal at the Parisian 9th International Chamber of Commerce Mediation Competition, and in 2020, Tessa was awarded the 40 Under 40 Most Influential Asian-Australians for recognition of her work in Government and for breaking the bamboo and glass ceiling in being the first Thai national ever elected into Australian Government and in creating legislative changes to workplace protection laws.
Through her work as an Executive Committee Board member for Blind Sports and Recreation; her role as International Studies Student Liaison Officer for the North American Australian Lawyers Alliance and
as President of the Thai Australian Chamber, Tessa hopes to use her background in law, education and business to elevate, promote and support the Thai community Australia-wide.
AFL Asia Advisory Board
An inspiring strong woman in leadership in community development & advocacy on Australia and Asia relations, multicultural and geopolitical affairs. With deep seated passion to make a difference and large-scale impactful initiatives, Judy sits in various Asia Australia related boards and has professional industry councillor role and has committed almost all of her personal time into these roles.
Judy is the inaugural Female Board Member at AFL Asia Advisory Board and also the first with Asian heritage. Elected by AFL clubs in over 20 countries across Asia in 2022., Judy provides strong governance and community advocacy leadership to grow AFL community clubs in over 20 countries across Asia including Southeast Asia to ensure their sustainability and to strength their connections with local Asian communities.
State Recognised Board Potential. Victoria Minister for Multicultural Affairs/Youth/Community Sport endorsed Judy as one of the 46 successful Victorian women for the Change Our Game Women in Governance Program 2022 which provided Judy AICD board directorship training in 2022.
State Recognised Multicultural Intelligence. Victoria Multicultural Commission sponsored Judy’s AICD membership 2023 and endorsed her into the inaugural Multicultural Community Leaders in Action Program 2022.
Judy is also Board Vice Chair at the Australia-China Young Professionals Initiative (ACYPI) - the single largest young professional and entrepreneurs organisation in the Australia-China space. Judy leads a global team on strategic governance to serving over 3,000 young professional and entrepreneurs members across nine cities in Australia and China with impactful initiatives to maintain and strength young professional ties between Australia and China especially during and past the pandemic recovery phase.
Judy is also a finalist for 2023 Australia China Alumni Awards – Community Service Category. Her trekking photo at Mt. Everest Base Camp was the Runner-Up of 2019 Australia-China "She Inspires Me" Photo Competition organised by the Australian Consulate-General in Chengdu China.
As executive Board Director at Executive Wealth Circle Australia Community Engagement Inc, she works with other influential established Asian Australian board members to provide an influential high-level networking platform connecting entrepreneurial like-minded Asian Australian newcomers and diaspora groups into the wider Australian community.
Judy is also a finance industry leader, as a re-elected CPA Victoria Divisional Councillor by CPA Victoria members for a consecutive two terms of six years, Judy serves and represents 40,000 CPA Victoria members and champion social cohesion and diversity in the finance industry. She was the inaugural councillor with Chinese heritage and international student background when first elected, then her nominee, another Chinese-Australian female young professional, followed her path and got elected into the council with her.
Judy now works at Victoria State Government and has changed her career from accounting to strategic communications to fulfill her passion and determination on community service in her professional life as well. She is working on the inaugural culturally and linguistically diverse communities communication and engagement strategy at her workplace.
Director of Operations and Strategy,
The Circulate Initiative, and
Chair of the Board,
Khunapong is a Regional Social Impact Leader. His work has improved the lives of millions in Southeast Asia, delivering critical access to safe water and sanitation, educating children about good hygiene practices and ensuring human rights of informal waste workers. These improvements empower citizens to lift themselves out of poverty and turn it into a new life opportunity.
The social impact on communities Khunapong has contributed to comes from dedicating his career to solving Southeast Asia’s toughest sustainability and social issues – the water, sanitation and plastic pollution challenges. He pioneered new market-based models and challenged the status quo of a traditional charity sector to create real system changes.
Khunapong is the Director of Operations and Strategy at The Circulate Initiative, a not-for-profit working to solve the ocean plastic pollution challenge and build equitable economies in South and Southeast Asia. He strengthens the engagement between Australia and Southeast Asia by chairing the Board for Masy Consultants. It is an Australian social enterprise working to transform community water, sanitation and hygiene behaviours in the Philippines. He was previously an Advisor to the Australian Government to address the water and sanitation crisis in the Indo-Pacific.
Khunapong has lived in Southeast Asia for more than half of his life in Indonesia, Myanmar and Thailand, while working extensively across eight Southeast Asian countries. He was recognised for his community advocacy impact by being selected as the 2022 Global Australian Sustainability Award Finalist and 2019 inaugural Community & Advocacy Winner of the 40 Under 40: Most Influential Asian-Australian Awards.
Gen A Leader
Chair of the Board,
ASEAN Australia Strategic Youth Partnership
Hayley Winchcombe is an Associate at Mandala and a Board Member of the Australia-ASEAN Council. Previously Hayley worked as an economics, policy and business strategy consultant with a focus on tech strategy and policy, the net zero transition, federal and state government strategies, economic and social impact and corporate responsibility.
Hayley is also extensively engaged in the international and social sectors as Co-Founder & Chair of the ASEAN-Australia Strategic Youth Partnership and Treasurer of a large cooperative. As a regional specialist in Southeast Asia, Hayley was the inaugural New Colombo Plan ASEAN Fellow and has experience with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, AustCham ASEAN and has published numerous articles with the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute.
She received First Class Honours for a Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) jointly undertaken at the University of Western Australia and Nanyang Technological University Singapore. She has lived in France, Spain, Singapore and Indonesia.
Dr Belle Wen Xian Lim
Deloitte Access Economics and
Founder & Executive Director,
Dr. Belle Lim is a recognised advocate, writer, speaker and consultant. She currently works at Deloitte Access Economics focussing on health and social policy. In 2022, Belle obtained a PhD degree at Monash University and the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre on the topic of breast cancer genetics.
In 2018, Belle founded Future Forte, an initiative and network for international students and multicultural women, where she now serves as the Executive Director. Future Forte has welcomed more than 2,500 women from around the globe, promoting diverse women and youth leadership particularly in the Asia Pacific region.
Belle also served as the National President ‘20/21 at the Council of International Students Australia after serving two years as the National Women's Officer. In the role she represented over 550,000 international students in committees, conferences, board meetings, advisory groups and in the media.
Belle is currently a Fellow with the Schmidt Futures’ International Strategy Forum representing Asia Pacific. She has been recognised as the Monash Faculty Gold Medalist in 2017, Victorian International Student of the Year in 2019, and a Victoria Volunteering Leadership Award finalist 2022.
Co-Chief Executive Officer,
ASEAN-Australia Strategic Youth Partnership
Racheline Tantular graduated as Valedictorian with a Bachelor of Philosophy and First Class Honours in Asian Studies and Music from the University of Western Australia. As a Fogarty and New Colombo Plan Scholar, her Honours thesis analysed Singaporean multicultural policies and incorporated primary research during an exchange semester at the National University of Singapore.
Racheline serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the ASEAN-Australia Strategic Youth Partnership (AASYP). Since 2019, she spearheaded AASYP’s growth, conceptualised and directed the Indo-Pacific Future Leaders Programme, and executed three ASEAN-Australia Young Leaders Forums across the region.
Racheline founded her public policy consulting business after working at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. She is a Policy Advisor at Reset.Tech Australia and Project Manager at Lydekker, seeking to advance global policy cooperation to navigate technological evolution and combat digital threats to democracy in Australia, Southeast Asia, and beyond.
Over the last five years, Racheline has played clarinet in the Western Australian Wind Symphony and competed as a cheerleader and ballroom dancer. She speaks Indonesian, Mandarin, and Japanese.
This initiative is supported by the Victorian Government.