Deena Shiff — Chair
Deena Shiff has had extensive senior executive experience in the communications industry. She served as a Group Managing Director at Telstra Corporation between 2005 and 2013, during which time she led the Wholesale Division, established Telstra’s Business Division dedicated to the communication needs of Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) customers and established Telstra’s corporate venture capital arm, Telstra Ventures.
Deena has also had a legal and regulatory career, including as Partner at Mallesons 1995-1998, in house corporate counsel at Telstra, and as a senior executive and adviser on legal and social policy reforms for the Australian Government earlier in her career.
Deena is currently Chairman of the global board of Bai Communications, is a non executive director on the board of the Citadel Group and Appen and is the Chair of a Co-operative Research Centre.
Nikki Christer has had a varied publishing career including 13 years as Publishing Director of Picador Australia where she published writers such as Tim Winton, Helen Garner and Kate Grenville. In 2015 she became Group Publishing Director of Penguin Random House Australia. Her present authors include Richard Flanagan, Joan London and Evie Wyld. Her books have won many major literary awards including several Miles Franklin awards, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, the Prime Minister’s Literary Award, and the Man Booker Prize.
Jo Dyer has held significant roles in the Australian arts industry, including General Manager of Bangarra Dance Theatre and Executive Producer of Sydney Theatre Company. During her time at STC, Jo oversaw the largest theatre program in the country, curating for multiple venues and diverse audiences, and touring the company’s works around Australia and across Europe and the US.
As a film producer, Jo’s debut film, Lucky Miles (2007) was nominated for Best Film at Australia’s AFI and IF Awards, and won awards around the world. Her most recent film, the internationally award-winning Girl Asleep (2016) was also nominated for Best Film at the AACTA awards and has screened in cinemas and at Festivals worldwide, most notably at the Berlin International Film Festival.
As an independent producer, Jo has produced work for a diverse range of presenters through her company, Soft Tread Enterprises. After a sell-out premiere season at the 2014 Sydney Festival, her acclaimed magic show, Band of Magicians, toured widely and included a season at the Tropicana in Las Vegas in November 2016.
Jo is the Chair of Force Majeure, one of Australia’s most celebrated dance theatre companies, and sits on the Board of the City Recital Hall.
Amelia Lester is the editor of Good Weekend magazine, which appears in the Saturday editions of the Sydney Morning Herald and Age newspapers. She spent nine years at The New Yorker magazine, including as managing editor and executive online editor. Amelia is a graduate of Harvard University.
David Marr has written for the Sydney Morning Herald, presented Media Watch and Arts Today for the ABC, edited The National Times, judged the Miles Franklin Award and was a founding member of Watch on Censorship. His books include Patrick White: A Life; Dark Victory written with his colleague Marian Wilkinson; and The Henson Case. He now writes for Guardian (Australia) and The Saturday Paper.
Lena Nahlous has managed arts, screen and digital media initiatives that have engaged thousands of people, particularly women, refugees, migrants and young people.
Lena was Executive Director of Information and Cultural Exchange for 12 years, where she grew the organisation more than ten-fold. She established Switch Digital Arts Centre, Artfiles — employment and engagement program for Western Sydney artists, the Digitales Australia initiative, and co-founded the Arab Film Festival.
Lena was a recipient of an Asialink Arts Fellowship to Hong Kong and was a graduate of the Asialink Leadership program. She sat on the NSW Government Arts Advisory Committee for two terms, participated in the Australia 2020 Summit and was named as one of Sydney's 100 creative catalysts.
Mark Scott is Secretary of the NSW Department of Education, responsible for running the NSW Education system.
For 10 years between 2006-16, he was Managing Director of the ABC, overseeing the creation of new services like iview, News 24, ABC3 and digital radio and the expansion of online and mobile services, such as the ABC News site and podcasting. In this period, there was also a significant increase in the production of Australian drama series and mini-series and the development of curated content across all platforms around important community issues like mental health and domestic violence.
He is an Officer of the Order of Australia and has graduate degrees from Sydney and Harvard Universities.
Kathy Shand has a Bachelor of Arts and Laws from the University of Sydney. In 1986 she worked for Curtis Brown literary agents in New York before returning to Sydney to work for Studio Collections magazine. She moved into book editing for Bay Books and then became the founding Editor of Nine To Five magazine.
In 1991 Kathy became the publisher of a national community newspaper, Australian Jewish News, a position she held for 15 years. Since then Kathy has gone on to complete her Masters of International Relations at the University of Sydney and to work at The United States Studies Centre and the School of Business. Kathy has extensive community involvement, including being on the Board of the Royal Hospital for Women Foundation from 2000-2006 and more recently the Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation from 2006-2010.
Emile Sherman co-founded See-Saw Films in 2008 as an Australian and UK based film and television production company. See-Saw has produced multiple award-winning film and television productions including Lion, The King's Speech, Top Of The Lake, Tracks, Shame, and Oranges and Sunshine. Earlier productions include Disgrace, Candy, and Rabbit-Proof Fence. Emile’s productions have won multiple Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, Emmy Awards, AACTA and LOGIEs.
See-Saw Films' subsidiary, Fulcrum Media Finance, is a major film and television financier, having financed tax credits and provided other forms of debt finance to over 60 productions to date.
Emile won the Producer Guild of America Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures Award in 2011 and the FIAPF Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film in the Asia Pacific Region in 2014. He holds a Bachelor of Law and Master of Arts degree from the University of New South Wales. Emile is also a director of Voiceless, the animal protection institute.
Su-Ming Wong is an investment professional with over 33 years’ of direct investment, international corporate advisory and merchant banking experience. He co-founded CHAMP Ventures in 2001, an Australian mid-market private equity funds manager with over $750 million funds under management.
Mr Wong was a member of the Council of University of Technology, Sydney (2010-2014). He was a founding director of National ICT Australia, a centre of excellence in ICT research, a member of the Industry Research and Development Board and a director of Unisearch. He was also a council member of the Australian Venture Capital Association and a member of the South Australian Government’s Venture Capital Board.
He holds a Master of Engineering from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand and a Master of Business Administration from the Australian Graduate School of Management.