ADVANCE
CONNECTING
AUSTRALIANS
GLOBALLY

JOHANNA PITMAN

Chief Executive Officer

Johanna joined Advance in October 2019, and became CEO in March 2021. She is a recognised authority on talent and the changing workforce, and spent the formative years of her career overseas. With 20 years experience working across economic development, international trade and public policy, she has held senior roles in Federal and State agencies and organisations in Australia, the UK and the US. In non-government roles, Johanna pioneered BlueChilli’s CityConnect accelerator for startups solving urban challenges, and was the Deputy CEO for the Committee for Sydney where she led advocacy for Sydney as a global talent hub. She holds a Masters in Regional Studies (East Asia) from Harvard University, and speaks Japanese and Korean. She is a long time Advance.org member, having attended its launch in 2002 in New York, by then Consul General, Ken Allen AO.


KATHY CAMPBELL

Event Manager

Kathy has organised events and delivered projects in varying sectors for over 25 years. Her experience in roles from Communications, Project Management and private Consulting have taken her from the healthcare industry, both public and private sectors, to corporate clients and schools. Her in-depth experience with project management led to event management, with Kathy organising cocktail functions and dinners through to Art and Literary festivals and other community events including fundraising. Completing her Bachelor of Arts (Psychology major) at Macquarie University, Clinical Pastoral Education (Basic & Advanced) at Royal North Shore Hospital, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Administration and Management at MGSM, Kathy has broad experience and insight into organisational psychology, business processes and change management. Kathy has a keen interest in sustainability, particularly sustainable products and processes, seeking to significantly reduce impact wherever possible. 


SARAH COLLINS

Website UX/UI Desgnier

Sarah joined Advance in early 2020 as Digital Coordinator. Sarah has 2 years of experience at both Advance and Internet 2.0 in digital and website development, marketing and digital transformation. Sarah also oversaw communications with hundreds of global Australians as the 2021 Advance Awards Process Manager. Through her experience volunteering in various roles at her church, teaching at her old high school, and co-founding ‘My Mate Dave Coffee’, Sarah has excellent skills in communication, community engagement and entrepreneurship. Sarah also received the High Achiever Meritorious Award for the International Baccalaureate in Design Technology, German and Dance.


MANDY GARNETT

Engagement Lead

Mandy is a senior project manager whose background includes working with large professional services firms, global financial institutions, and media companies in Sydney and London. Mandy has co-ordinated global partner conferences in Sydney, Singapore, London and Berlin and also organised numerous charitable events at 10 Downing Street(UK PM’s office). In addition she has managed a mentoring program for street children in East London and was the West London Branch Contact for the Motor Neurone Disease Association for 15 years. Mandy relocated to regional Victoria in 2020 after 18 years spent in London.


MICHELLE GIBBS

Chief Financial Officer and Company Secretary

Michelle has deep finance and accounting experience gained over the last 25 years from working in KPMG’s CFO advisory practice, Commonwealth Bank Australia, Merrill Lynch London and Deutsche Bank London.  In these roles Michelle has worked with or within finance functions across various sectors, with a specialisation in deal structuring, leasing and technical accounting under IFRS.  She has published articles globally and regularly presented or hosted numerous events.  She now currently provides CFO and accounting services to various clients in her own consulting company and is a partner at Nuwaru, a new and unique virtual accounting and tax firm. 


ROBERT HUGHES

Research and Insight Manager

Robert joined Advance in 2020 as a Coordinator, and has since moved into Research and Insight. He runs Advance’s weekly curated job and event listings, as well as conducting internal research and writing a variety of publications. Robert holds a Bachelor of Design and Architecture from the University of Sydney and received the Blake Matthews Prize for Creative Writing in 2016.


MICHAEL KEDZIERSKI

Chief Technology Officer

Michael Kedzierski has experience across the entire pipeline of delivering a tech project, from initial scoping and analysis, to design and implementation, to support and maintenance. Michael helped launch New Economy Media this year, a new media organisation dedicated to explaining emerging trends and technologies to everyday Australians. Prior to this, he implemented a robust web-based survey and data analysis platform for Startup Muster which is the most comprehensive data on the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem in Australia since 2013. Over the past 14 years of working in tech he has helped deliver projects both large and small, ranging across a wide range of industries including freight/logistics, mining, trading, travel booking, insurance and cattle farming. While Michael studied at TAFE, he considers himself mostly self-taught, and has relied on his experience and knowledge to propel him through his career. Above all, Michael simply enjoys the process of figuring out solutions to problems.


MADDIE SWIFT

Marketing Manager

Maddie joined Advance in early 2020 as the Social Media Manager. She oversees the management of all Advance’s social media accounts, as well as writing the monthly Advance newsletter, Born Global, a critical part of Advance’s community outreach. Maddie has over 5 years of experience creating, implementing, and optimising social media. She has worked for the fast-paced world of channel Nine and now for the global audience of Advance.org. Maddie has excellent communication skills for digital outreach, branding and for strengthening online relationships. Maddie also works alongside the annual Advance Awards to deliver outstanding engagement, unique content and exposure. She holds a Bachelor from UTS in International and Global Studies.


JESSICA SZAKACS

Marketing Associate

Jessica joined Advance in 2022 as a Marketing Intern and after completing the 2021 NextGen program. Jessica obtained her bachelor of business in marketing and advertising in 2021 from Western Sydney University. She is an invaluable member of the Advance team with her sophisticated design skills and strong understanding of marketing concepts and channels. Her extensive experience in various volunteer roles over the last four years has allowed her to apply this passion in a community setting.


IVANI TORALES

Project Lead/Head of Community

Ivani joined Advance in 2019 as Head of Community. She oversees the Engagement and Outreach pillars of Advance, and supports the Annual Awards and content production for the organisation. Ivani holds a Master of Science from UNSW and has previously managed the Spark Festival program, and projects in Paraguay alongside UN agencies FAO and WHO, supporting policy and standards development for global industry, trade and public health. Ivani speaks Spanish, Portuguese, and Paraguayan Guaraní.