Celebrating our remarkable alumni
Each year the Griffith Business School celebrates the remarkable achievements and successes of our alumni.
2019 Award Winners
Outstanding Alumnus Award
Dr Jennifer Cronin
Hotel openings, cybersecurity and architectural blueprints are a few of the daily items on the agenda for Dr Jennifer Cronin, president of Wharf Hotels.
Not afraid to get her hands dirty, Dr Cronin’s 35 years industry experience and intimate knowledge of hotel operations from her early career, help her to navigate the dynamic and complex nature of decision-making in her position.
Young Outstanding Alumnus Award
Sabrina Melisa Aripen is the founder and chairperson of Society for Equality, Respect And Trust for All (SERATA), a nonprofit organisation based in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
SERATA works to dismantle long-held socially constructed gender roles and promote gender equality by engaging men and boys in partnership with women and girls.
First Peoples Outstanding Alumnus Award
Dr Kerry Bodle
Dr Kerry Bodle is a descendant of Karendali (Thargomindah), Kalali (Conbar Outstation) and Waka Waka (Cherbourg) First Nation Peoples.
At the age of 38, Kerry completed her Bachelor of Business degree at Griffith University and went on to complete her Honours in 2003. It was during her Honours courses that she developed a good understanding and passion for undertaking research, leading her to enrol in a doctorate degree, whilst working as a tutor for the Griffith University Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics.
International Outstanding Alumnus Award
In the seven short years since Jacob graduated from Griffith University, he has already been acknowledged by his peers as the key driving force behind the transformation of the Scandinavian loan industry - a feat that most would consider impossible to achieve in one of the most traditional and complex finance markets.
Upon graduating from Griffith, Jacob joined Advisa, a Swedish loan brokerage firm, in an entry-level role, where he was to make roughly 200 cold-calls per day.
2018 Award Winners
Outstanding Young Alumnus Award
Caitlin Pearson is general manager of marketing and engagement at Macarthur Disability Services (MDS), a not-for-profit organisation supporting more than 1000 people with a disability and/or mental health issue, including their carers’ and families. Ms Pearson was recently named the winner of the 2017 Not-For-Profit Executive of the Year at The CEO Magazine's Australian Executive of the Year Awards for her role at MDS where her brand and sponsorship strategy led to an increase in the organisation’s fundraising revenue by more than 50%.
Ms Pearson has also volunteered her services to local charities and advised local council on accessibility and inclusiveness for people with a disability.
Outstanding International Alumnus Award
Thanuj De Alwis Goonewardena
Thanuj De Alwis Goonewardena has 27 years’ experience in hospitality, planning, design, construction and hotels. He returned to Colombo, Sri Lanka after graduating at Griffith University and took over the family business, developing the small hotel, into a mega city hotel. Mr De Alwis Goonewardena has also been involved in the design and development of numerous hotel, resort, home and office projects and won the "Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2009" for his work in Sri Lanka’s hotel sector.
He is also a volunteer teacher and supported not-for-profit organisations focused on alleviating poverty and emergency response.
Outstanding First Peoples Alumnus Award
A renowned First Peoples artist, Delvene Cockatoo-Collins, is a proud Nunukul, Ngugi and Goenpul woman from the Quandamooka region of South East Queensland. As an artist and Indigenous advocate, Ms Cockatoo-Collins, is committed to telling, preserving and continuing the story of culture and country and received international recognition after designing the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games medals..
In 2012, Ms Cockatoo-Collins established a Minjerribah-based youth arts group and continues to draw artistic inspiration from the stories handed down to her, which relate to family, culture, history and the land.
Amanda Hodges is an international strategic business, investment and government affairs executive leader with more than 20 years’ service in senior leadership and diplomatic roles across the globe. Ms Hodges is expert in managing international operations and delivering key government programs, and is a strong supporter of Griffith faculty and students in South Korea.
Ms Hodges has found placements for Global Mobility Business Internship students in Seoul and facilitated high-level country briefing sessions for students and visiting faculty members.
Outstanding Entrepreneurial Alumnus Award
Sarah Schoeller and Marissa Bowden
Sarah and Marissa’s big business brainwave came to them during the GFC. After a strong start to her career with positions within the BreakFree, Mantra, Peppers and Schoolies.com brands in the tourism sector, Sarah’s progression stalled with a redundancy. Wanting to make the most of her downtime, Sarah joined with Co-Founder Marissa to develop a business plan for The Village Markets between jobs.
Their creative idea blossomed and is now a Gold Coast institution, helping to foster the careers of other designers and artists. Sarah says a number of their early stallholders have launched at the markets and become a huge success.
2017 Award Winners
As Vice President of Cook Incorporated, and Director of Cook Medical in Asia Pacific, Barry has more than two decades of international leadership and expertise in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries. As well as working tirelessly to ensure people in Asia have access to high-tech medical devices, he also created the Young Leaders program to inspire a new generation of Cook Medical Employees.
He’s also been instrumental in spearheading a push for the Australian Government to implement the Australian Innovation and Manufacturing Incentive to retain talent and manufacturing on Australian shores.
Outstanding Young Alumnus
Penelope undertook a Graduate Certificate in Risk Management with Griffith and has achieved more in her early career than many achieve in a lifetime in traditionally male-dominated industries.
Starting out as a warfare officer in the Royal Australian Navy, Penelope worked her way up to Navy Chief of Staff, also holding position as a Police Investigator for the Australian Defence Force. Now, as a successful executive, she is CEO of Energy Skills Queensland, and Chairs both the Queensland Electrical Safety Committee and Women in Power, a not-for-profit promoting and empowering women.
Outstanding Entrepreneurial Alumnus
As a Bachelor of International Finance graduate, Kim never imagined writing a book to make cooking easy would see her career soar. Her book 4 Ingredients has sold more than 9 million copies and she’s scored a seven-book deal in the USA—a very difficult feat.
Kim feels particularly strongly about giving back to the community once you reach your own goals. Through the success of her 4 Ingredients brand she’s also donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
Outstanding International Alumnus
This Bachelor of Business graduate has become an exemplary role model for business students in Australia and throughout the Asia–Pacific. Bob took his market research company Pulse from a small start-up, into a leading publicly quoted company on London’s PLUS markets. He has since built himself an impressive international career, living and working across the Asia-Pacific, Europe and the US.
He is currently a Director of global technology and innovation company Dematic, a global leader providing a comprehensive range of intelligent intralogistics and Industry 4.0 Automation and Robotic solutions.
2016 Award Winners
Professor Paul Simshauser
Paul graduated from Griffith with a Bachelor of Commerce and a Master of Commerce. He is a former Chief Economist at AGL Energy and was the only Executive of an ASX-listed company in Australia to hold simultaneous roles of a full-time executive and a Professor of Economics at Griffith.
His passion and enthusiasm for energy policy, data-intensive and evidence-based research, and the welfare of energy consumers led him to the somewhat unusual move of transitioning from an ASX30 company executive to the Public Service. At the time of winning this award Paul was the Director-General of the Department of Energy and Water Supply.
Young Outstanding Alumnus
Olivia Loadwick graduated from Griffith with a Bachelor of International Business and is now a nationally and internationally recognised corporate finance and corporate strategy specialist and an Associate Partner at McKinsey and Company.
She has amassed vast experience in takeovers, acquisitions, strategy, capital management and equity capital markets, and has advised some of the world’s leading companies in China, South Korea, North America, the Middle East, Europe, New Zealand and Australia. Olivia has also provided policy advice to State and Federal Governments.
Outstanding International Alumnus
Dr William Chen
Dr William Chen graduated from Griffith with a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Accounting and now has more than 20 years’ financial management experience with local and global high-growth companies in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods and retailing sectors, with operations in the Greater China and Asia Pacific region.
At the time of winning this award, William was Group Chief Financial Officer and General Manager (Hong Kong) for Hui Lau Shan Group, a dessert chain with more than 250 stores in Hong Kong, the People’s Republic of China and Malaysia.