2016 Symposium Speakers

Managing Director, Microsoft Australia

As Managing Director, Pip Marlow is responsible for Microsoft’s overall business in Australia. She ensures the company meets the needs of its customers and more than 11,000 partners and independent software vendors that sell or build on the Microsoft platform.

Pip began her 18-year career with Microsoft in 1995, working in the Australian Partner team on anti-piracy efforts, and the system builder channel and distribution strategy. She then moved to Microsoft’s head office in Seattle, US, where she held a succession of senior roles, including General Manager for US channel sales.

After eight years in the US, Pip returned to Microsoft Australia. She worked in various positions across the business, including as Director of Small and Medium Business Solutions, and Partners. Before being appointed Managing Director in January 2011, Pip held the joint role of Enterprise and Partner Group Director and Public Sector Director.

Pip has a long history in the IT industry. One of her first roles was at Samsung Information Systems, where she was responsible for building the company’s semiconductor distribution business. Before joining Microsoft, she was part of the founding team at Agate Technology, which became one of Australia’s largest storage distributors.

Pip enjoys working in a vibrant, collaborative environment, and is an advocate for flexible workplaces that empower people through trust and accountability.

Born, raised and educated in Palmerston North, New Zealand, Pip lives in Sydney with her Scottish husband and two daughters, Sophie and Lucy.

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Dr Keith Suter is the Managing Director of the Global Directions think tank. He is an economic and social commentator, strategic planner, author and broadcaster.

As a broadcaster, he appears on Australian radio an average of once per day. He is the TV Channel 7 “Sunrise” foreign affairs editor. He is also a foreign policy analyst for Sky TV Australia.

His first degree was in international relations, economics and international law. His first PhD was on the international law of guerrilla warfare. His second PhD was on the international political economy of the arms race. His third PhD was on scenario planning.

He teaches political science on the Sydney international campus of Boston University, USA.

He is the Director of Studies of the Australian Branch of the international Law Association, and NSW Chair of the International Commission of Jurists.

He has been a member of the international think tank The Club of Rome since 1993.

Adam Ferrier


Adam Ferrier is a Consumer Psychologist and the Global Chief Strategy Officer / Partner at independent agency Cummins&Partners.  He graduated university with degrees in Commerce and Psychology and by a strange twist of fate began his career in forensic psychology. Adam worked in maximum-security prisons and private practice, before making the natural move to marketing consultancy, working for Added Value. Here Adam switched his interest from understanding criminal behavior to consumer behavior.

He completed his Clinical Psychology Thesis in ‘Identifying the underlying constructs of cool people’, and for a short while was a global cool hunter. Continuing the slide from the moral high-ground Adam joined ad agency, Saatchi & Saatchi, before starting Naked Communications Asia Pacific in 2004. Naked grew to be one of the most successful agencies in Australia, and was later sold.  During this time the Adam’s work received many accolades, winning at top award shows such as Cannes Lions, The Effies, Clio, ADMA, AMIA and LIA.  Further Adam’s ‘Overstay Checkout’ idea for Art Series Hotel won the Global WARC Innovation award 2013, he also won the Cannes Chimera in 2014 for ‘The Act Button’.

Adam is a regular commentator on consumer behaviour on TV (including being a regular panelist on the Gruen series) and has a weekly national segment on radio station MMM drive show. His book ‘The Advertising Effect: How to Change Behaviour’ was published (Oxford University Press) in 2014.




Former Government Legal Officer and Senior Policy Officer Queensland Police Service; Counter-Terrorism Hostage Negotiator Attorney-General’s Department, Australian Government. Operational Police Hostage Negotiator; Mediator and Specialist Facilitator for the Queensland Police Service.

Before his call to the bar, Patrick was employed by the Queensland Police Service and was regarded as one of Australia’s leading Counter-Terrorism Negotiators with the Australian Government’s Attorney-General’s Department and was highly regarded as a Police Hostage Negotiator and specialist facilitator for the State of Queensland.

Patrick’s extensive and practical expertise is on ‘Strategic Communications’ – the skill of using communications to achieve a specific and pre-defined outcome; and ‘Strategy Development’ – the skill of analysing a problem and identifying and developing the plan and methodology to best resolve it.

Patrick has in excess of 12-years operational experience in this specialist field and more than 15-years experience as a dynamic and highly sought after facilitator who has trained specialist personnel in Law Enforcement, Military and Government both Nationally and Internationally. In 2006, Patrick traveled to India to assist with preparations for the 2010 Commonwealth Games and to enhance India’s Counter-Terrorism Negotiator capabilities.

Patrick now uses these same skills in his successful practice as a Barrister-at-Law and continues to provide communications skills training to government and private organisations through his Training Consultancy – ‘Fortify Communications’.”


 Culture Leader

Steve Simpson is an international speaker and author based in Melbourne.

In 2015, the National Speakers Association of Australia awarded Steve the prestigious Educator of the Year Award – making Steve one of only nine people across the country given this recognition.

Steve is the creator of the concept of UGRs – recognised globally as a breakthrough in helping people both understand and strategically improve their workplace culture. Steve has been invited to speak at conferences across the world – from the World Conference on Customer Management in the US, to the Annual Conference for the Academy of Chief Executives in the UK, to the Leaders Summit in South Africa. He has a Masters Degree from the University of Alberta, and was invited to undertake an Australian city lecture tour to co-present with Harvard University Professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter.


Spindrift Solutions

Trevor Slater is an accredited and experienced commercial mediator and negotiator.  He holds a Masters Degree in Conflict Resolution from La Trobe University and a Diploma of Business – Frontline Management from the Australian Institute of Management.

Trevor is the owner of Spindrift Solutions which provides dispute resolution services to the commercial sector and also currently provides consulting services to IDS Limited as their General Manager.

Prior to this Trevor was the General Manager of Financial Services Complaints Limited (FSCL) having started this company in 2010; lead conciliator at the NZ Banking Ombudsman and National Relations Manager with the Financial Industry Complaints Service (FICS) in Melbourne.

Trevor has been involved in private practice teaching conflict resolution, conducting  mediations and delivering workshops in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Customer Service & Dispute Resolution, Yarra Valley Water

Neil has managed Customer Service and Dispute Resolution operations for over 25 years. His experience includes senior roles in both the private and public sectors with a diverse range of companies such as National Mutual, AMP, QBE, Coles Group. Peninsula Health Network, SP AusNet and Yarra Valley Water.

Neil has established several best practice complaint management functions from inception and has overseen the development of powerful complaint reporting and root cause capability. In Neil’s current role he has overseen a 50% reduction in Ombudsman complaints in 12 months and is on track to reduce complaints by another 30% in the current financial year.

Neil is a passionate consumer advocate for the right to a positive service experience and a minimal effort, fair and reasonable dispute resolution process. Whilst recognising the importance of external dispute resolution bodies and Ombudsman schemes, Neil believes their very existence demonstrates the failure of internal resolution practices and processes for many service providers. He sees an ongoing need for many companies to improve their customer engagement and truly put the customer ‘at the heart’ of everything they do.

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Technical Case Manager, Personal Insurance, Insurance Australia Group

Monique is a qualified Pastry Chef who travelled the world working under this trade. Ten years ago Monique made the decision to change to a different career path and found a new opportunity in the IAG Sales and Service department. Within three months of her new role, she made a successful transition to the IAG Resolution Team which deals with frontline support and customer complaints.

More change occurred for Monique with a shift across the country from Perth to Brisbane and three years ago Monique transferred within IAG to Customer Relations, where she has found her true calling.

Monique prides herself on helping customers and to look at issues with an out of the box approach which she continues to do in her current role as Technical Case Manager.

Monique was awarded the SOCAP 2015 Rising Star Award, which has inspired her to continue her approach in finding solutions to resolve matters and further challenge herself and set new goals.


Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 4.22.49 PMANTHONY KOLMUS

Capability Development Manager, Office of the Disability Services Commissioner
Anthony has been Capacity Development Manager at the office of the Disability Services Commissioner (DSC) since 2010. He has also recently undertaken the role of Acting Deputy Commissioner.  
Anthony has worked in the Victorian disability sector since 1984 and has been responsible for the management of a range of service models including accommodation, Day Services, respite, supported employment and self-directed support packages.  
His experience prior to his role with DSC included 12 years as the CEO of a medium sized service provider and 15 months in a statewide project management position with the Department of Human Services.  
Anthony has undertaken two study tours to the USA during which he visited organisations regarded as leaders in the provision of self-directed supports.  

 Resolutions Manager, Office of the Disability Services Commissioner

Rochelle is the Resolutions Manager at the office of the Disability Services Commissioner (DSC) and has been with DSC since 2013, previously in the role of Senior Practice Adviser.  
Rochelle is a physiotherapist, who has experience in working in public and private health settings.  
She is an accredited mediator, and has a Diploma of Government (Investigation). She has worked at all levels of government, and has significant experience in complaints resolutions and auditing bodies relating to social services, including having previously worked for the Aged Care Complaints Scheme.

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 General Manager, Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Rob is the General Manager, Customer Relations at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. He has over 18 years senior leadership experience, including Board Directorships with 5 companies. His breadth of experience covers financial services, utilities, health, telecommunications, travel, manufacturing, and education. In his current role as GM, Group Customer Relations he is responsible for CBA’s customer dispute resolution and feedback process. He manages directly a team of over 100 customer complaint management experts who provide escalated resolution across the CBA Group.

Rob is married with 3 children and in his “spare time” has written a best-selling book on Parenting Tips.


 Head of Customer Resolutions at Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Nathan is a lawyer with more than 10 years experience in dispute resolution and alternative dispute resolution. He works as Head of Customer Resolutions at CommBank, where his team is responsible for managing external disputes and complaints to the CEO, as well as monitoring for potential systemic issues. Prior to CommBank, Nathan worked at the Energy & Water Ombudsman NSW.





Airline Customer Advocate

Julia was appointed to the position of Airline Customer Advocate (ACA) on 1 July 2012 – an Australian first.

Prior to her current role, Julia was the Complaint Assessments Manager at the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission and also conciliated complaints at the Human Rights Commission in its Sex Discrimination team.  She was also a lawyer in a past life.

The ACA exists to resolve complaints about the five participating Australian airlines. It also aims to be an independent and influential advocate about matters affecting airline consumers.

Since its inception, complaints about flight delays and cancellations and refunds continue to be the top two issues consumers complain about.

mia lander photoMIA LANDER

 Managing Director, KnowledgeSpace

Mia is the Managing Director of KnowledgeSpace.  In 2009, Mia deployed the first installation in Australia of a managed speech analytics service across multiple countries and languages for a global software company.

During the pilot, her team identified $US6M per quarter in ‘leaked revenue’ through inappropriate discounting by agents.  The service was quickly expanded across Europe and Asia.

A lifelong learner, Mia holds a Bachelor of Behavioural Science (Psychology), Graduate Certificate in Organisational Behaviour and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management.

Trinh Mai picTRINH MAI

Manager, Education Complaint Unit, South Australia Department for Education and Child Development

Trinh Mai has been the manager of the Education Complaints Unit in the South Australian Department of Education and Child Development since 2014.  Trinh has overseen the redevelopment of DECD’s complaints management system, and applied legal frameworks, behavioural economics strategies and therapeutical approaches to complaints management in government.  With degrees in behavioural science, social work and law, Trinh has worked to refocus the DECD complaints management systems towards building relationships and creating narratives that families and professionals can engage in.

Janine Young


Ombudsman, Energy & Water Ombudsman NSW

Janine Young was appointed Energy & Water Ombudsman NSW in November 2014.  Janine gained extensive experience providing independent dispute resolution services as the Victorian Public Transport Ombudsman and Deputy Ombudsman at the Energy and Water Ombudsman (Victoria).

Janine is passionate about ensuring that social justice and essential services are available for all, especially vulnerable consumers. During her career, Janine has focused on improving social inclusion and community connectedness and delivering innovative, accessible and equitable services.

Janine is an Executive Member of the Australian and New Zealand Ombudsman Association (ANZOA).


Chair, Australian Press Council

David Weisbrot is Chair of the Australian Press Council, an Emeritus Professor of Law and Honorary Professor of Medicine at the University of Sydney, and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law.

David was President of the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) from 1999-2009, leading 16 major inquiries, including the Protection of Human Genetic Information, Gene Patenting and Human Health, Privacy Law and Practice, Sedition Laws and Classified and Security Sensitive Information.  As NSW Law Reform Commissioner in 1993, he devised the system currently used to handle complaints against lawyers.

David was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2006 for ‘service to the law, in the areas of law reform, education and access to legal services, and through contributions to research, analysis and policy development on a range of matters of public interest’. In 2010, he received the NHMRC’s award for The Most Outstanding Contribution to Health and Medical Research, and in April he was awarded a Doctor of Laws (LLD honoris causa) by Macquarie University.


Michelle Bihary is an expert in Professional and Workplace Resilience, Emotional Intelligence and Self Leadership.  Michelle assists executives, professionals and teams around Australia, to perform at their peak, through harnessing their psychological flexibility, emotional intelligence, self awareness and self leadership. These skills are vital to protect employees’ wellbeing from their professional demands, especially in interpersonally challenging roles. A mentally healthy workplace culture is the other essential ingredient that ensures bottom line results whilst cultivating engaged and highly productive employees. Michelle synthesises the latest research in neuroplasticity, resilience, emotional intelligence and leadership. She provides pragmatic and insightful training, team building and coaching that is immediately applicable both professionally and personally. Michelle is passionate about seeing people thrive. Her extensive experience in mental health, coaching and counselling has given her expert knowledge in how to make the ‘invisible’ self leadership skills more visible, practical and tangible.