Welcome to our 2023 Advance Gala Dinner.

The Gala Dinner is our annual opportunity to celebrate remarkable global Australians in person. As a non-profit organisation, the Gala Dinner is an opportunity to raise funds to deliver important Advance programs supporting our next generation of leaders, Australians working overseas and returning Australians. The 2023 Gala Dinner on Thursday 16 March was a celebration of the extraordinary global Australians recognised at our 2022 Global Australian Awards and a chance to network with attendees from a range of corporate, government and not-for-profit backgrounds.

Speakers (in order of appearance)

RAE JOHNSTON – MC / Panel Facilitator

Rae Johnston is a multi-award-winning journalist and proud Wiradjuri woman born and raised on Dharug and Gundungurra country in Western Sydney. Ms Johnston’s work appears across a range of mediums including television, radio and digital media. Ms Johnston was the first Science and Technology Editor for NITV at SBS as well as the producer and host of top-rated podcasts, Queens of the Drone Age, STEAM with Rae Johnston, Hear+Beyond, Look At Me and Harmful. Throughout her impressive career as a leading commentator on all things tech, science and pop culture, Ms Johnston has worked with every major television and radio network in Australia, regularly making appearances today across SBS, ABC and Network Ten. Find out more about Rae Johnston here.

ALLAN MURRAY – Welcome to Country

Chairperson, Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council.

Mr Allan Murray is a descendant of the Wiradjuri and Kamilaroi nation where his parents belong too. His father is a stolen generation, and he comes from the Cummunga village on the Murray River. His mother is from northwest of NSW, a little town ship called Walgett which is in the heart of the Kamilaroi nation. Allan is currently the Chairperson of the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council, with also holding the deputy role as well and has been a member of the Land Council for more than 15 years. Mr Murray is backed by a solid Board who are task to bring change, strive for economic and self determination to represent 17,000 Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people who reside in the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council boundaries. He has several qualifications in business management and human resources practices. And hope to go forward in providing leadership to the members, more so to assist our youth and continue the recognition of our elders who are the gate keepers of knowledge, respect, and wisdom. Find out more about Uncle Allen Murray here.

ANDREW LOW – Chair’s Welcome

Andrew Low is Chairman of Advance Global Australians and of the Australian British Chamber of Commerce, Genea Biomedx Group and Cobden Reid Advisory. He is also a Director of the Bell Shakespeare Company and the Europe Australia Business Council. Andrew was previously Chairman of PRP Diagnostic Imaging, one of Australia’s largest radiology businesses, and of CLSA Australia and was Deputy Chairman of Asia Society and a Member of the Australian Takeovers Panel and the Australia Japan Business Co-operation Council. Prior to his Board roles, Andrew held a number of senior roles with Macquarie Group in Hong Kong, Sydney and London, including as Head of Macquarie Capital for Asia; Global Head of Telecom, Media, Entertainment & Technology; and Global Chief Operating Officer for Macquarie Capital Advisers. He has also been the Global Head of Investment Banking for CLSA (the international arm of CITIC Securities) and the Chief Executive of RedBridge Grant Samuel. Andrew is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and of the Financial Services Institute of Australasia. Find out more about Andrew Low here.

Live Performance – “Libertango” (Astor Piazzolla)

Andrew Blanch

Andrew Blanch is a guitarist that has carved out his own path with a musical vision that values both the tradition and the inherent potential of this continuingly evolving artform. Read more.

Emily Granger

US-born harpist Emily Granger has firmly established herself in the Australian concert scene, with a busy schedule as a soloist, chamber, and orchestral musician. Read more

Andrew Smith

Andrew Smith is a Sydney-based saxophonist who can be frequently seen performing in chamber (Nexas Quartet), orchestral (Sydney Symphony) and solo settings. Read more.


Johanna Pitman, CEO Advance, is a recognised authority on the changing workforce, global talent, and the innovation ecosystem. She pioneered BlueChilli’s CityConnect accelerator for startups solving urban challenges, and has 20 years experience working across economic development, international trade and public policy through senior roles in Federal and State agencies and organisations in Australia, the UK and the US. Johanna was the Deputy CEO for the Committee for Sydney where she led advocacy for Sydney as a global talent hub and the development of Sydney’s fintech industry. She holds a Masters in Regional Studies (East Asia) from Harvard University, and speaks Japanese and Korean. She is a long time member, having attended its launch in 2002 in New York, by then Consul General, Ken Allen AO. Find out more about Johanna Pitman here.

ANDREW N. LIVERIS AO – Special Remarks

Andrew N. Liveris AO is a member of the Judging Panel of the Global Australian Awards and valued advocate for the work of Advance. He is the former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Dow Chemical Company and director of DowDuPont. He previously served as Executive Chairman of DowDuPont. A recognised global business leader with more than 42 years at Dow, Liveris advocates the criticality of manufacturing worldwide. He is the author of Make It in America and was tapped by the current U.S. Administration to help identify new ways to spur innovation, revitalize the U.S. manufacturing sector and drive economic growth and prosperity as chair of the manufacturing council and a member of the apprenticeship of the future task force. Previously he served as Co-Chair of U.S. President Obama’s Advanced Manufacturing Partnership steering committee, a member of President Trump’s American Manufacturing Council, a member of the U.S. President’s Export Council and the  Concordia Leadership Council. Find out more about Andrew N. Liveris AO here.

DR SONU BHASKAR – GameChanger Panel 

Dr Sonu Bhaskar is one of our 2022 Australian Global Talent Awardees.He is also a medical entrepreneur and global health leader responsible for establishing the world’s first Blood Clot Biobank in Sydney. Founding Director and Chief Investigator at the NSW Brain Clot Bank, Dr Bhaskar is among world’s top specialists in the fields of stroke and cerebrovascular disorders, and is leading the effort to discover the unknown causes behind the disease that is now Australia’s third leading cause of death. Dr. Bhaskar’s work in neurology and research, along with his broader commitment to the not-for-profit sector, volunteering, and community service in Australia and overseas, has attracted global recognition. He is a two-time winner of the 2019 European Academy of Neurology (EAN) Investigator Award, the 2020 Rotary Vocational Excellence Award, and 2021 Paul Harris Fellow recognition. Find out more here.

DR LARRY MARSHALL – GameChanger Panel 

Dr Larry Marshall is Chief Executive of CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency and innovation catalyst. Dr Marshall is a scientist, technology innovator and business leader with a wealth of experience in creating new value and impact with science. During Dr Marshall’s distinguished career, he has pioneered a new field in semiconductor lasers and non-Linear optics, creating the eyesafe laser and the first solid-state ophthalmic laser curing blindness in diabetics to name a few. Prior to joining CSIRO, Dr Marshall had 25 years’ experience as an international technology entrepreneur, publishing over 100 peer reviewed publications and conference papers, developing 20 patents and founding six successful US companies in biotechnology, photonics, telecommunications and semiconductors. Find out more about Dr Larry Marshall here. 

FRANCES VOON – GameChanger Panel 

Frances Voon received the 2022 Social Impact Award. She is a global human rights leader who has dedicated her life to advancing the rights of refugees.As Executive Manager of UNSW’s Andrew and Renata Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law, Ms Voon provides strategic leadership at the world’s first centre for international refugee law, with the aim of placing evidence and principle at the centre of what remains a divisive topic of public and policy debate. Ms Voon’s commitment to refugees is motivated by her passion for ensuring fundamental human rights for all, an area she has focused on since the very beginning of her career. Ms Voon is a remarkable global Australian whose work as a humanitarian, a policy shaper and maker, an advocate and a thought leader is driving significant impact for refugees across the globe. Find out more about Frances Voon here.

THE HON MALCOLM TURNBULL AC – Former Patron’s Address

Australia’s 29th Prime Minister, Mr Turnbull has had international careers in law, business and the media and is a successful venture capitalist. As Prime Minister, he is best known for overseeing the legalisation of same sex marriage and the announcement of the construction of Snowy Hydro 2.0, the biggest pumped hydro scheme in the southern hemisphere. Mr Turnbull is currently a senior adviser to KKR and an investor in, and adviser to, many Australian technology businesses. He is a director of the International Hydropower Association and Chairman of Australian Fortescue Future Industries.  Mr Turnbull speaks and writes on a range of issues including cyber security, geopolitics and renewable energy. Find out more about Mr Turnbull here.

THE HON WYATT ROY – Closing Remarks

Wyatt Roy, Advance Board member, is an Executive Director of the Tech Council of Australia and an advisor to SunDrive Solar, McKinsey, and Afiniti. Previously, he was the Managing Director (Australia) for Afiniti from 2017 to 2022, where he helped grow the company’s AI platform for optimizing customer interactions. Wyatt is a former politician, having served in the Australian House of Representatives and as Australia’s first Minister for Innovation. He chaired the House and Senate’s Joint Standing Committees on Treaties and played a key role in negotiating free trade agreements with South Korea, Japan, and China. Wyatt was recognized as GQ Magazine’s Politician of the Year in 2010 and was named to Forbes magazine’s 30 under 30 in Asia list. Find out more about Wyatt Roy here.

Thank you for joining us at our 2023 Advance Gala Dinner.

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