Our People

Leadership team

Philipp Ivanov headshot

Philipp Ivanov, Chief Executive Officer

Philipp commenced as CEO in January 2015 and is leading Asia Society Australia through a period of growth and transformation. Philipp is a China specialist with extensive experience in policy, education and research and commitment to building an Asia-connected Australia. Previously, he was a policy officer and manager of the Australia-China Council at the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. In this role, Philipp led the strategic renewal of the Council and had broader responsibilities for the Australia-China bilateral relationship. Philipp was one of the principal authors of the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper - China Country StrategyPreviously, Philipp was Acting Director and Deputy Director of the Research Institute for Asia and the Pacific at the University of Sydney, advised the University of Sydney on China strategy and managed La Trobe University's partnerships in the Gulf States, Vietnam and Thailand.

Philipp spent over 6 years in China working in education and development. He is the recipient of the ‘Rose Award’ by Shenyang Municipal Government for his contribution to Shenyang City. In 2009 he was also awarded the Australian Government’s Endeavour Executive Fellowship to research China's policies on leadership development at the China National Academy of Education Administration in Beijing. He is a board member of the Australia-Vietnam Young Leadership Dialogue, Asia Recon, Haymarket HQ and Sydney City Council's Chinese New Year Advisory Panel. In 2015, he was invited as the only Australian to the 2015 Congress of Vienna - a preeminent global track-two dialogue on major-powers conflict, migration, equality and innovation.  He is a founder of 'Disruptive Asia'  - a thought-leadership project examining the impact of Asia's rise on Australia. Philipp has a Bachelor (Honours) degree in Chinese language and history from the Far Eastern National University in Russia. He also studied in Jilin and Liaoning Normal universities in China. He holds a Master of Educational Leadership and Management from RMIT University in Australia. He grew up in Vladivostok on Russia's Pacific coast and is a fluent Chinese and Russian speaker.

Connect with Philipp on Linkedin.

Thomas Soem

Thomas Soem, Executive Director (Sydney)

Thomas Soem commenced the role of Executive Director (Sydney) at Asia Society Australia in April 2019. He is an international partnerships and business development specialist with over a decade of experience building successful collaborations between Australia and Asia. Thomas has a background in strategic planning, business development, project design and management, and implementation of cross-sector initiatives and programs with national and global partners in the Asia-Pacific region.

Prior to the Asia Society, he was the Head of International Research and Development at the University of Sydney. In this role, he drove international research and capacity-building projects between the University and its partners in Asia, built relationships with external funders, and gave strategic advice on international growth and collaboration opportunities. He identified, designed, bid for and often managed more than 100 projects for the University across the Asia-Pacific region funded by national and international agencies, including the Australian Government, the United Nations System, the European Commission, the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank. He led University’s submissions to several government consultations and parliamentary senate inquiries including the Asian Century White Paper, and had representative roles with Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research and the Australia-Indonesia Centre.

Thomas is a graduate from the University of Oslo, Norway and the University of Sydney where he studied political science, international diplomacy, regional integration and languages.

Connect with Thomas on LinkedIn.

Jette Radley headshot

Jette Radley, Associate Director, Programs

Jette Radley commenced the role of Associate Director, Programs at Asia Society Australia in 2016. She was previously the Executive Officer at the Australia China Business Council (ACBC). At ACBC she worked directly with the National CEO and NSW Branch CEO to implement the goals and objectives of the Council.

Jette has a strong interest in social justice and the not-for-profit sector, and volunteered as a research assistant at Burma Campaign Australia where she assisted in the development of a human rights advocacy and awareness campaign to coincide with Burma's 2014 ASEAN chairmanship. Having grown up in regional Australia, Jette was able to combine her interests in regional issues, food security and Australia’s role in feeding Asia by completing an internship at the New South Wales Farmers Association. Here, Jette contributed to the development of an Industry Action Plan, to help future-proof NSW Agriculture.

Jette was a founding member of the Australia China Youth Association (ACYA), University of Technology Sydney Chapter and a past panelist at the annual Australia-China Emerging Leaders’ Summit. After being awarded an Australian Government Discover China Scholarship, Jette studied Chinese language and culture at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China.

Jette graduated from the University of Technology, Sydney in 2013 with a double degree in Communications (Social Inquiry) and International Studies (Chinese language and Culture).  Her studies focused on policy and advocacy, media, and the politics of climate change and food security.

Connect with Jette on Linkedin and Twitter.

Mel Kemper headshot

Melissa Kemper, Associate Director, Operations

Melissa Kemper commenced the role of Associate Director, Operations at Asia Society Australia in June 2016.
Melissa has over 20 years’ experience in the financial and operational management of service-based organisations, across a range of industries including financial services, technology consulting firms and registered training organisations. She loves working with people to deliver high-end, quality services.

Melissa has demonstrated success in defining, documenting and implementing operational workflow to stimulate and support organisational growth. She has vast experience implementing effective financial management strategies to improve transaction processing, strengthen cash flow, reduce debtors, and ensure accurate and timely payroll and financial reporting. She has proven experience in building, managing and leading multi-discipline teams to achieve revenue targets.

Melissa has provided strategic and planning advice with respect to financial and operational objectives to improve business performance and direction as an equity partner and part of management teams.

Melissa graduated from Macquarie University with a Bachelor of Economics, majoring in Accountancy. She has also completed a Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning through the Securities Institute of Australia, and the E-Myth Mastery Course on successful small business management.

Connect with Melissa on LinkedIn.

Greg Earl headshot

Greg Earl, Editor, Asia Briefing

Greg Earl is the editor of Asia Briefing - a monthly analysis and news update on Asia and Australia-Asia relations. Greg was the deputy editor, opinion editor, national affairs editor and Asia Pacific editor of The Australian Financial Review. He is now researching a book about Australia and Asia and writes a column on economic diplomacy for The Lowy Institute’s The Interpreter. He spent more than a decade as a reporter based in Jakarta, Tokyo and New York. He is a member of the Australia-ASEAN Council board, the Australian National University Indonesia Project advisory board and a former member of the Australia Japan Foundation board. Last year he participated in the Australia-Indonesia Dialogue in Yogyakarta, the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Dialogue in Kuala Lumpur, the Australia-India Policy Forum in New Delhi and revisited the Philippines town where he was an exchange student.

Connect with Greg on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Julia Bergin headshot

Julia Bergin, Communications and Content Officer

Julia Bergin commenced the role of Communications and Content Officer at Asia Society Australia in May 2018. Together with Greg Earl, she started Asia Society Australia's podcast channel, Asia Briefing UNWIRED.

Julia graduated from the University of Melbourne in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in Politics/International Relations and Criminology. Her studies focused on Australia's foreign policy and relationship with Asia through both in-country and secondary research projects. 

In addition to Asia Society Australia, Julia works as researcher for the award-winning podcast on China, The Little Red Podcast. She also has her own business Disjunctures, under which she practices as a professional artist and photographer. 

In 2017, Julia completed internships with both China Matters and the Australian Institute of International Affairs National Office in Canberra, and work experience with The Australian at the Parliamentary Press Gallery. Julia has published articles with The Guardian Long ReadsAustralian Outlook and The Australian.

Connect with Julia on Linkedin, Twitter and Instagram.